Monday, December 7, 2009

To bamboo or not bamboo.

I've been researching bamboo clothing to add to the Rubi J Store. Bamboo doesn't have to be certified organic. It just is. Bamboo grows without pesticides or fertilizers added. It's recognized as a green material by several organizations.
Bamboo Facts I have learned:
  • Produces up to 35% more oxygen than trees.
  • Absorbs four times as much carbon than trees.
  • Has natural anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties.
  • Matures for harvest in less than 4 years.
  • Regenerates itself without replanting.
Exciting news, isn't it? But wait. Here's the rest of the story. The harvesting and processing of bamboo into the incredibly soft fabric is more complicated. 

There are two different ways to process bamboo into fabric - mechanically or chemical. Mechanically is a longer and much more expensive process, but does not use harmful chemicals. Chemically process bamboo is much cheaper and faster. You can probably quess what system most manufacturers use.

You may have seen where some bamboo products carry the Oeko-Tex Standard 100 Certification. This is a good sign. Oeko-Tex is an independent organization that looks for toxicity in the processing of fabric. To receive the Oeko-Tex100 certification, the fabric tested must not have any substances that are prohibited by law, carcinogenic or suspected of being harmful to health. If does not mean harmful chemicals to the body or environment have not been used; only none is left in the fabric.

There is also Oeko-Tex Standard 1000 certification. This certifies that the manufacturing process is environmentally friendly and at least 30% of their production is certified with their Standard 100.

Neither one of these certifications address fair labour practices.

So, would I buy bamboo clothing for myself? Probably. Would I sell bamboo clothing for babies and children? Not yet.

For more information, go to

1 comment:

Stef Kramer said...

Awesome information. I've been wondering about bamboo!