What's Up with Green Fabrics: Bamboo

One of my 2014 Ethical Fashion Goals was to learn more about fabric's ecological and labor impact.  Then I got sick and thought I was dying (literally) and didn't blog for a while and got very behind on those goals.  Anyway, I ran into this post about bamboo fabric on Treehugger and figured I'd excerpt some of it for you.

Growing bamboo is eco-friendly but the process to get it into material is not:

"The growing of bamboo is environmentally friendly but the manufacturing of bamboo into fabric raises environmental and health concerns because of the strong chemical solvents used to cook the bamboo plant into a viscose solution that is then reconstructed into cellulose fiber for weaving into yarn for fabric."

The FTC noted that the end product of cellulose is rayon (regardless of what the cellulose started as) and needs to be labeled as rayon.  But there are some rayon exceptions that are more eco-friendly: 

"However not all rayon is created equal; Lyocell, or Tencel, is made in a closed-loop process using less toxic chemicals. Like conventional viscose, it can be made from any form of cellulose including bamboo."

"Once the stuff had to be called 'rayon made from bamboo' it didn't sound quite so natural and green anymore and pretty much disappeared. If you see bamboo clothing, it might be spun directly from the fiber and described as bamboo linen; otherwise, unless you see the Lyocell or Tencel label, give it a pass."
Hopefully one day I'll write a longer series on fabric impact but I thought this was an interesting point to note now.  Thanks, Treehugger.


  1. Hmm, I didn't know this! Thanks for sharing, another thing for me to look out for, eek :P

    1. I know, it seems like every single area of apparel consumption is riddled with nuances.

  2. Replies
    1. I thought so, too! Glad you did as well!


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