1MW Guide to Sustainable Fabrics – Bamboo

Susta-Style by Bronte Hogarth

We know it can be difficult to understand exactly what sustainable fashion means, and the material your clothing is made from plays a BIG role in it’s environmental impact! The Susta-Style 1MW Guide to Sustainable Fabrics series will look at the most sustainable materials in use today, and also the fabric innovations that lie ahead for the future.

Bamboo is our sustainable fabric this week.

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Bamboo fabric is a natural textile made from the pulp of the bamboo. There is two processes for creating bamboo fabric:

  • Mechanical, which is the lesser used process as it’s more labour intensive. It gives a fabric product similar to linen.
  • Chemical, the most common production process of bamboo, and has lead to contentions about bamboo’ sustainability as there are many unfriendly and harsh chemical used.

Both mechanically and chemically manufactured bamboo fabrics have sustainable benefits such as:

  • In the cultivation of bamboo, no pesticides or fertilizers are needed and it grows rapidly.
  • Bamboo clothing is 100% biodegradable and can be completely decomposed in the soil.
  • Growing bamboo improves soil quality and helps rebuild eroded soil.
  • Bamboo plantations reduce greenhouse gases.
  • Currently, there are no known genetically modified variants of bamboo.
What to watch out for:

Whilst the growing of bamboo is environmentally friendly, the manufacturing of bamboo into fabric raises certain environmental and health concerns because of the chemicals used to get the raw material to the cellulose fibres that make the end product. The market is growing for Bamboo produced using certifiable environmentally friendly processes for example using safer solvents in the production process as is the case with Lyocell/Tencel production.

Bamboo fabrics and clothing can be manufactured under Eco-certifications, which ensure they are grown organically, from responsibly harvested sources, and that no chemical additives are used in the production that could be harmful to human health. Look for these kinds of products, certified by independent and reliable certification companies. The rule is to always check the origins of the fabric.

See last weeks Susta-Style post on Soy

Don’t forget to head over to our website! We are daughters, mothers, sisters and grandmothers getting on with practical climate action to live better for us and the planet. Join the movement at www.1millionwomen.com.au

  • Susta-Style is a weekly post on sustainable fashion, shopping and design.