- I have lots of bamboo growing at the edge of my property.
- I love the look of bamboo plants painted or stenciled or otherwise stylized on fabric.
- I respect bamboo as a strong reed, readily available to nations needing a plentiful, inexpensive, renewable source for building.
I do not support bamboo as a source for fibers. Why not? Bamboo has a wonderful hand, soft and smooth and silky. But bamboo has been erroneously touted as the next green alternative fiber. I have long felt a sense of green-washing going on, and therein lies my objection.
Bamboo fibers are no more “green” than (non-organic) cotton, or rayon, or Tencel, or wool. In fact, bamboo is less “green” than organic cotton, or Tencel (lyocell), and many wool sources. In fact, Tencel (lyocell) is created using a closed-loop process that is very environmentally sensitive.
Bamboo fibers have to be extruded, altered with a chemical slurry, in a rayon process. Most commercial processing takes place in China, where environmental concerns are not top priority, and much chemical dumping creates toxic waste. With a rise in demand for bamboo fiber, bamboo is being planted and farmed, with land being deforested and plants becoming a commercialized business.
Here is a link to more information. If you want to skip the top part of the article, I urge you to scroll to the “examples of questionable claims” , where many interesting facts regarding bamboo and the green-washing claims are discredited factually.
I am not saying that I would never use bamboo fibers. Rather, what I object to is the green-washing claims surrounding bamboo. Choose to use the fiber based on the hand of the fiber; do not choose to use the fiber thinking that you are doing something good for the Earth!
All opinions are, of course, my own. You have the right to disagree with me, and you won’t hurt my feelings by doing so. My family does so all the time!