How is bamboo fabric better for the environment? 15 sustainable facts
There are 15 reasons why bamboo fabric is better for the environment, making bamboo potentially one of the most sustainable fabric options for an eco-friendly wardrobe. Bamboo grows rapidly, needs little water to thrive, and is a grass, meaning it can be harvested without killing the plant. Importantly, it requires no fertilizers or pesticides to grow, absorbs more carbon dioxide and releases 35% more oxygen than the equivalent area of hardwood trees.
These are the 15 reasons which in theory explain how bamboo fabric is better for the environment, however make sure to read our next article to understand the sustainable and less sustainable ways of turning bamboo into the clothes you can buy.
15 reasons why bamboo fabric is better for the environment:
Absorbs CO2 and releases oxygen: Bamboo removes incredible quantities of carbon dioxide from the air, releasing oxygen in exchange. Bamboo forests are so dense they release 35% more oxygen than the equivalent area of hardwood trees.
Bamboo stores CO2: Bamboo stores two thirds of the CO2 it removes from the atmosphere in the soil and its roots. This is a far cry from cotton plants, which are dug up or killed after harvest.
- No pesticides or fertilizers: Bamboo can grow in harsh conditions without any chemical fertilizers or pesticides, helping look after the local environment and prevent water pollution.
Grows rapidly: Some bamboo can grow up to 1m a day, making it the fastest growing crop in the world! It reaches maturity in 3 to 5 years, compared to 40 years from regular hardwood timber. It is an eco friendly and sustainable way to produce large quantities of material
- Reduced space: Bamboo doesn’t just grow fast, it is dense, meaning it requires less space to produce high crop yields. Bamboo produces the same volume of material as cotton from under 10% of the land
- Bamboo is a grass: Yes, that’s correct, bamboo is a grass. How is this better for the environment? Well, it means bamboo can be cut back when it’s harvested without killing the plant. This prevents soil erosion and degradation which is linked to cotton harvesting.
- Less maintenance, less machinery: Bamboo can thrive anywhere, and doesn’t require intensive farming to do so. Unlike cotton, it needs less machinery to maintain it, resulting in less CO2 emissions.
Reduced water consumption: Bamboo requires much less water than cotton, placing less risk on local populations which grow the crop. Cotton is a thirsty crop that’s often linked with drought and water shortages.
- Nothing is wasted: Virtually every part of the bamboo plant can be used to make a variety of products. Nothing goes to waste, making it a green crop to grow.
- Bamboo is biodegradable: Organic bamboo clothing is 100% biodegradable, just like a bamboo plant. Pure bamboo can take around a year to biodegrade, but make sure that it hasn’t been chemically treated or dyed.
Improves soil quality: Bamboo actually helps to improve soil quality, reclaiming land which would otherwise be unproductive. This is the opposite of cotton, which leaves soil depleted and low in nutrients after intensive agricultural practices.
- Bamboo prevents soil erosion: Bamboo doesn’t just improve the quality of the soil, it also stops soil erosion. This is due to the tight roots which help bind the soil, and is particularly important in areas susceptible to flooding.
Antibacterial properties: Bamboo clothing may hold antibacterial properties, keeping your clothes smelling fresh for longer. How does this make bamboo fabric better for the environment? Washing clothesaccounts for around 60-80% of a garment's total environmental impact.
- Bamboo reduces timber demand: Bamboo is a sustainable and eco friendly alternative to timber, reducing the demand on this precious material and slowing deforestation.
Bamboo is ethical: Bamboo isn’t just incredibly sustainable, bamboo is also ethical. It helps provide employment for many rural communities across the planet, lifting thousands out of poverty and creating social and political stability.
Is Bamboo clothing sustainable? The truth about bamboo clothes
If you’ve read this far, you may be thinking, “wowww bamboo sounds like an amazing eco friendly fabric”. Before you rush out and build your new sustainable wardrobe from bamboo clothing, there are a few things you should know about the manufacturing of bamboo fabric. Unfortunately, while the bamboo plant is really environmentally friendly, the same cannot be said about most clothes made from bamboo today due to the harmful manufacturing processes involved.
Read our next article which answers the important question, are bamboo clothes really eco friendly, to truly understand the impact of this fabric. Sadly, it may be a little too good to be true.