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Bamboo is one of the most sustainable crops; it is self sufficient, meaning that it doesn't need irrigation because it only needs a little bit of water to grow and doesn't require use of chemicals ("pesticides and fungicides are not used in the growing of bamboo as is it is seldom eaten by insects or infected by pathogens"). An other great thing about Bamboo is that it rarely, if ever, needs replanting: It will miraculously sprout on its own! Bamboo also absorbs more carbon dioxide from the air than many other plants/trees, plus it releases more oxygen into the environment which improves air quality. Something that's great for the wearer, is that bamboo is hypo-allergenic, so it doesn't cause any allergic reactions or skin irritation, AND it's resistant to odor, mold, mildew, and bacteria! It doesn't wrinkle and is machine washable in cool water. Bamboo is actually one of the strongest and most affordable fabrics, but the best thing about bamboo is that it is SUPER soft!
Bamboo vs Organic Cotton
The Growing Process
Even though organic cotton has a much lower environmental impact than regular cotton, the process still isn’t perfect. Unfortunately because methods of reducing pests are limited to a few imperfect strategies, organic cotton may experience more crop waste, while bamboo is naturally resistant to insects and infecting pathogens. Both regular and organic cotton must be replanted each year, which means that vast areas of land must be plowed. This expose the bare earth to the wind and sun leading to soil erosion and land drying out. Bamboo, on the other hand, sprouts on its own and one acre of bamboo will yield 10 times more than one acre of cotton. Bamboo has a bad rep when it comes to the fabric production though; the current process used most to break down the bamboo material so that it can be made into fabric requires the chemical sodium hydroxide. This chemical is used to treat much of the world’s cotton fabric, including some organic cotton. But what's also good to know about this process is that the sodium hydroxide used in the production of bamboo doesn't get dumped into the river: A closed-loop system recycles the chemicals so it won't get out and pollute the environment. Also, this chemical easily rinses away from the fabric with water, leaving no residue on the final material.
Like mentioned above, Bamboo doesn't cause any allergic reactions or skin irritation while this could happen with cotton fabrics. Bamboo will outlast cotton in keeping shape, strength, and durability three times over when cared for properly. Bamboo is 40% more absorbent than even the finest organic cotton; It can take in 3X more water than its weight, so as a fabric it is able to get rid of moisture faster. Bamboo fabric requires less washing than most cotton, which will elongate the product's life. Also, the bamboo fibers require less dye than cotton, and keep their bright colors significantly longer. As Cariloha puts it, Bamboo is an environmental wonder-plant! Read more about Bamboo at Cariloha, Shantigreen & Organic Lifestyle Beware: Majority of bamboo products on the market today are made utilizing the chemical talked about above to make it into a fabric, choose well!