Did you know that bamboo can grow up to 4 ft per day?
No, I promise that’s not a typo. That’s four feet. Per day. Which is why it’s probably one of the most sustainable plants on Earth.
This amazing plant is used as a building material, as a musical instrument, as fabric, in medicine, and as a food source for people and animals.
Technically, bamboo is classified as a grass, not a tree. And bamboo wasn’t used in fabric until the 20th century (thanks China!).
Bamboo in Textiles…
Bamboo looks very similar to cotton before it’s turned into a fabric. But it has several benefits that cotton doesn’t have.
First, bamboo is excellent for wicking moisture away from your skin. If you want to stay dry, a bamboo shirt or pair of socks will work far better than cotton.
Second, bamboo has amazing anti-microbial properties. This means that it naturally resists molds and fungus. This is good news, especially if you have bamboo clothing for workouts and runs. It also helps kills bacteria on your own skin, which means you don’t get as stinky yourself!
Another benefit to bamboo is its sustainability. Because it’s so fast growing (maturing in just 3-4 months), it’s easy to get a large harvest in a short amount of time. And, bamboo doesn’t need pesticides and chemicals to thrive like cotton does. So, there are no ill-effects on the environment.
Bamboo is often used in fair trade fabrics because it grows in many third-world countries. This means that when you buy fair-trade bamboo clothing or gifts, you’re helping support people who really need it.
It’s also an incredibly soft fabric. I’ve got on a pair of bamboo socks as I write this, and they’re definitely my favorite pair. The reason is because bamboo feels like a perfect blend between silk and cotton.
Bamboo is also hypo-allergenic. So if you’re allergic to some fabrics like wool or nylon, you’re not going to be allergic to bamboo.
I could go on, but you get the picture. Bamboo truly is an amazing fabric, and many of today’s cutting-edge designers are using this plant to make their clothing lines more eco-friendly. Next time you have the option of buying bamboo fabric or buying cotton fabric, give bamboo a try. You might end up loving it more than cotton (I sure did!)
Filed under: Eco Fashion on March 16th, 2010