Q: Is bamboo environmentally-friendly plant?
A: Absolutely. Bamboo is one of the fastest growing plant in the world: if you cut a bamboo, it will grow 10 times faster than a regular tree. Bamboo requires no chemical fertilizers, herbicides, or pesticides for its growth and maturation.
Compared to, for instance, cotton, bamboo needs very little water to grow and after the harvest, it needs no replanting- new shoots soon emerge to replace the stalks that were cut down. Due to its widespread root system and large canopy, bamboo prevents rain runoffs and massive soil erosion.
Bamboo plants take in carbon-dioxide and produce oxygen during the process of photosynthesis and are one of the most efficient plant types for this process.
Q: What are the benefits of bamboo viscose?
A: Bamboo viscose textiles are unbelievably soft and silky. The material is extremely breathable with increased air permeability, has excellent temperature management properties and high moisture absorbing capabilities.
Q: How does bamboo turn into textiles?
A: There are two ways how to transform bamboo into yarn.
The first is mechanical method: woody parts of bamboo plants are broken down with enzymes to create a mesh of fibers that can be spun out into yarn. This process is very labor intensive and expensive.
The second method is called rayon or viscose production method. Bamboo material is extracted using a steaming process and then mechanically crushed to extract the cellulose. The cellulose is purified, treated with lye sodium hydroxide, dissolved in carbon disulfide, as a result thin viscose fiber threads are produced that can be woven into fabric. The bamboo viscose that is produced from this method is very soft and makes excellent fabrics. The vast majority of bamboo textiles is produced with this method.
Q: Are products made from bamboo viscose safe?
A: Sodium hydroxide and carbon disulfide easily washes off the bamboo fiber, so they do not remain as a residue on textile products made from bamboo.
For your information, chemicals involved in the manufacturing process are commonly used in many industries. Sodium hydroxide is used in many industries: food, paper, textiles (incl. organic cotton), drinking water, soaps and detergents, and as a drain cleaner. Carbon disulfide is used in the production of cellophane, used for food packaging.
Q: Is bamboo viscose production environmentally-friendly?
A: Bamboo plant is very environment friendly and has many benefits over other plants used for textile production (described here); yet, the environmental burden comes in disposing of chemicals used in bamboo material transformation to yarn and can nevertheless be harmful to the factory workers and the environment, if production is conducted irresponsibly. Good news is that modern production methods for creating usable bamboo viscose from raw bamboo plants made it possible to avoid any harmful chemicals getting out into the environment. In responsible production facilities, the process is done as a closed loop in a hermetic container, and all the chemicals used can be recycled.