we have the ability to compare to some degree and growing bamboo has many advantages over cotton (which we also use in virtually all of our products) There is no universally accepted definition of sustainable textiles.
The closed loop method of production, enables use recovery and reproduction. (Braungart 2006) Growing bamboo absorbs huge amounts of CO2
- Produces approx 35% more oxygen than an equivalent stand (area) of trees (Knight 2007)
- Yields 50 times as much fibre per acre than cotton
- Is not derived from oil or coal like polyester and nylon
- Needs no irrigation or replanting
- Needs no pesticides - cotton cultivation apparently uses 15% of all pesticides produced
- Needs no insecticides - cotton cultivation uses 25% of all insecticides produced
- Grows at the rate of approx 100cms/ 39” per day
- Accepts dyes well thereby using less dyestuff
The criteria for sustainable textiles asks questions but we cannot gather precise figures for provenance.
- Is it safe for human and animal health?
- Is the material biobased or recycled?
- Is it produced in an energy efficient way?
- Are the producers and manufacturers socially responsible?
- At the end of its useful life is it biodegradable , is it recycleable?
The answer to all these questions is yes.
I hope that this has gone some way to explaining why we at Bamboo Textiles Ltd are proud to be involved in the production of bamboo textile products here in the UK. In itself producing things needs human resources and our staff are paid a lot more than the minimum wage. We employ people now and hope the company generates more jobs in the future. We also produce much of our own electricity having installed a 14.5kw array of photovoltaic panels on our roof last year. Our private vehicles run on LPG and we minimise journeys in private cars. We recycle all our waste of which we generate less than ave. 5kgs per week anyway.
Now lets look at the disadvantages of producing viscose fibre. In production chemicals are indeed used to break down the pulp into a spinnable form, these chemicals (alkalis and highly diluted acids) are not simply used once in a production batch. Although they do have a finite life and they have to be replenished. The fact that they are used up in the processing means that there is limited final toxicity.
Viscose of bamboo is better than viscose of wood (Rayon) because of the relatively easy breakdown of bamboo which is a grass and bamboo is soft in the middle.