Written by Reed Sacharoff.
Did you know that cotton is one of the most intensely sprayed crops in the world. Organic cotton doesn’t use the harmful pesticides that regular crops do, but that makes up only a very small fraction of the total cotton produced. After a bit of research, I came discovered that an excellent substitution; Bamboo. It is sustainable, practical, and has many health benefits that naturally develop in its growth.
There is a property in bamboo called “Bamboo Kun.” This makes the fabrics that results from the productions of bamboo naturally anti-microbial. It lasts through dying and washing the fabrics, and help prevent any bacteria or fungus from growing on the fabric. Its a perfect option for those who have sensitive skin, and also helps to reduce body odor. Bamboo fabric even has an inherant UV protection factor that will help to keep your skin safe from the harmful ultra violet light emitted from the sun.
Bamboo, as opposed to cotton, requires no pesticides or fertilizer to grow, and takes in five times the amount of greenhouse gasses. It can be densely grown and its roots retain water in the watershed, sustaining riverbanks and reducing water pollution. Bamboo also grows at an incredibly quick pace, so it can be harvested many more times than other plants.
Bamboo fabrics can look and drape like silk, but are more practical because you can machine wash them on the gentle cycle and dry them in the drier or on the clothesline. It has many of the qualities sought in “performance” and “easy care” fabrics without the drawbacks of synthetic material and it has many of the fashionable qualities of silk, while being sturdy and vegan. As Diane von Furstenberg and Oscar de la Renta will attest, Bamboo can translate into high end designs as well. Gucci has also been using bamboo in its natural state in accessorizing its shoes and handbags.
Bamboo is a great natural alternative to cotton. Its sustainable nature is perfect for the socially-conscious consumer, and it provides many benefits for the buyer. It is known as the plant with 1000 uses, and it is true. Besides being used as a fabric, bamboo can be used for landscaping and construction, turned into paper, used for drawing and illustrating, in medicine, as musical instruments, and yes, is even edible.
One must question why such a versatile plant is used as infrequently as it is. Its elegance and natural beauty can add to any surrounding, and you can feel good in the fact that you are doing something good for the earth by working with it.