Bamboo is the fastest growing woody plant in the world. A crop of bamboo usually takes four years to grow to maturity after which it can be continually reharvested. There are thousands of species of bamboo that grow around the world, particularly in Asia. The type that’s used for O2wear bamboo clothing is called Moso, the same variety that’s used for bamboo timber and many other bamboo products. Moso bamboo grows prolifically in China, where it covers around 3 million hectares. You can view and buy bamboo clothing in our online shop.
Is bamboo clothing organic? Organic is generally defined as a crop that is not genetically modified and is grown without the use of man-made pesticides or fertilisers. Bamboo is naturally resistant to fungi and disease so it grows quite happily without any intervention. This not only means that the bamboo is grown organically, but the fibres used to make our bamboo leggings, tees, tanks and camisoles won't contain any toxins either. Read more about organic qualities of bamboo at our organic clothing page.
Is bamboo clothing eco-friendly? Bamboo plants are eco-friendly in several ways. Bamboo grows without any irrigation, unlike crops such as cotton which require huge amounts of water. In addition, bamboo doesn’t contribute to water or soil contamination as it is grown without artificial fertilisers and pesticides. When compared to traditional fibres, bamboo clothing has a very small environmental footprint. As such it has gained significant popularity as a green fibre. Read more about the environmentally friendly properties of bamboo clothing.
How is bamboo manufactured? Bamboo fibre is made from the leaves and inner pith of the hard bamboo trunk. These are extracted, crushed and soaked in a sodium hydroxide solution. The alkali cellulose that is produced is pressed to remove the excess solution and then shredded to increase the surface area and make the celluslose easier to process. The shredded cellulose is left to dry in contact with the oxygen of the ambient air. Carbon disulfide is added to the cellulose to cause it to gel, and excess removed through evaporation. After some further ripening, filtering and degassing, the viscose bamboo cellulose is forced through spinneret nozzles into a diluted sulfuric acid solution which hardens the cellulose bamboo fibres so that they can be spun into bamboo fibre yarns.
Our bamboo leggings and camisoles are manufactured from fabric certified as Oeko-Tex 100 Standard ensuring there are no harmful chemicals or toxins present after the manufacturing process. Bamboo clothing is perfect for people with sensitive skin or eczema.
What about the pandas? Pandas in the wild like to eat about twenty-five species of bamboo plants. They don’t like Moso, the one used for bamboo clothing. You can read more about organic clothing, or buy bamboo clothing from our online store.
THE BOTTOM LINE
While bamboo clothing is generally regarded as environmentally friendly, it is the manufacturing process described above that is sometimes used to question the eco-friendly credentials of bamboo clothing. In short, while bamboo is an eco-friendly organically grown crop, chemicals are used to process it into yarn. At O2wear we believe that the many environmental benefits of the bamboo crop as well as the unique properties of the fabric itself are beneficial to both the environment and you! You can read our "Top 10 benefits of Bamboo Clothing" page, buy bamboo clothing from our online store, and read both the good and the bad in our links & resources page.