By: HEATHER BIEN
While we most readily associate the bamboo plant with cute, fuzzy panda bears, did you know that bamboo fiber can also make an incredibly soft and breathable fabric?
You may have noticed a rise in clothing brands turning out garments made from bamboo, instead of cotton. Bamboo is a popular raw material because it’s sustainable—the fast-growing perennial plant is hardy and can thrive in many different kinds of environments, requiring no fertilizer or extra water to grow.
In this brief guide, we’ll explain how the bamboo tree becomes the coveted bamboo viscose fabric you see on the market, plus we’ll delve further into all the ecological benefits of the bamboo plant. Let’s discuss.
Breaking down bamboo viscose
What is bamboo viscose fabric?1
When you order from your favourite clothing company, you may notice that the bamboo-based undies you’re slipping into are made using bamboo viscose. Bamboo viscose, sometimes referred to as bamboo rayon fabric or regenerated bamboo, is a regenerated cellulose fiber that’s created using natural cellulose from the crushed bamboo grass plant.
Bamboo viscose can be used in the production of a variety of products including towels, bedding, hygiene products like surgical masks, mattresses, food packaging, and of course, clothing. They’ve even figured out how to produce sturdy, stylish footwear from viscose bamboo.2
How bamboo viscose is made?
Manufacturers of bamboo viscose take mechanically crushed bamboo leaves and stems and produce bamboo fibers using a wet-spun process.
The resulting regenerated bamboo fibers are then dissolved into “a diluted solution of sodium hydroxide” which creates a pulpy substance.1 This substance is then ripened, filtered, and degassed before being forced through spinneret nozzles into yet another diluted vat of solution, which hardens the substance. This process is done in a closed-loop system.
This substance is then cut into fibers and spun into bamboo fiber yarn.
At Boody Wear, we only use bamboo yarn that is grown in China by a local company. They source bamboo from their own bamboo farm in the Sichuan Province and strictly oversees all operations.
The bamboo fibers are Oeko-Tex 100 certified, meaning the finished fiber has been tested for harmful chemicals.
The benefits of bamboo
Bamboo doesn’t require fertilizer. It also doesn’t need to be replanted, meaning its growth won’t negatively impact the earth around it. In addition to the production of soft, durable textiles, bamboo has historically been used for a variety of purposes in East and Southeast Asia.
Some of these uses include:3
- The seed of the bamboo plant can be used as grain
- The young shoots of the plant can be eaten as vegetables
- Livestock can feast on raw bamboo leaves
- Some species of the plant can be used to make high-quality paper
- Jointed stems of bamboo can be used for a variety of construction projects
- Stems of bamboo can make furniture, flooring, and even utensils
- The silica mineral found in the joints of bamboo stems has been used as a medicine.
The versatility of the bamboo plant is but one of its many positive features. When you buy organically grown and harvested bamboo, you can rest easy knowing that the growth of this plant can actually benefit the environment.
Benefits of the bamboo plant include:4
Minimizes CO2, maximizes oxygen. With the rise of deforestation, there are fewer trees on the planet to soak up the rampant amount of carbon dioxide being produced by the modern human. Because bamboo grows quickly and regenerates, these plants can soak up the excess CO2, in turn generating 35% more oxygen than other trees.
Slows deforestation. As we noted earlier, bamboo can be used as an alternative source of lumber for construction. This allows native plants and trees that are not regenerative to grow freely, thus slowing deforestation. Our bamboo comes from FSC-certified forests so that we do not contribute to habitat loss or deforestation.
Doesn’t use much water. Bamboo is twice as effective at using water as other trees. Like a camel, bamboo plants are hardy and can withstand harsh weather conditions like drought and high temperatures. By not having to use excess water to grow these plants, bamboo farms are not contributing to the waste often generated by the fashion industry. Boody’s bamboo is grown organically, certified by EcoCert. Pesticides, artificial fertilizers, and artificial irrigation is not used at any point in the process. We rely on rain water only.
- Prevents soil erosion. Because bamboo doesn’t need to be replanted annually, this helps prevent soil erosion. Bamboo’s extensive root systems ensure that there’s no uprooting during harvesting, which helps preserve the soil.
The fashion industry contributes to approximately 10% of carbon emissions globally and almost 20% of wastewater, using more energy than the aviation and shipping industries combined.5
By supporting companies that are mindful of their material choices and source from certified farms, you’re helping to combat the negative facets within the fashion industry. Plus, you’re benefiting from the breathable, self-cooling bamboo fabric that is so soft, you’ll be hard-pressed to take it off.
Here at Boody Eco Wear, our quest to redesign the pulse of comfort led us to bamboo yarn. In a journey to create a transparent and eco-conscious and sustainable fashion line, we developed natural men's and women’s bamboo clothing that’s hypoallergenic, smooth on the skin, and breathable.
It’s smart comfort made consciously. It’s ethically sourced and made mainstream.
If you’re curious about the benefits of bamboo viscose, or how bamboo textile influences comfortable fabrics, then you’ve landed in the right spot. If you’re wondering what it feels like to wear something that’s good for the earth?
Then it’s nice to meet you. We’re Boody Eco Wear.
About the Author:
Heather Bien is a copywriter and writer based in Washington, DC. She works with retail, ecommerce, and creative brands on their website copy and digital presence, and her freelance writing has appeared on MyDomaine, Apartment Therapy, The Everygirl, and more. When she's not with laptop and coffee in hand, you'll find her planning her next weekend getaway, working on her budding green thumb, or scouting for her next great vintage find.
- BedVoyage. Wondering What Bamboo Viscose Is? https://www.bedvoyage.com/blog/3745/Wondering-What-Bamboo-Viscose-Is
- Forbes. No brand has yet successfully turned bamboo into a high-performance shoe fabrication. https://www.forbes.com/sites/josephdeacetis/2020/02/02/no-brand-has-yet-successfully-turned-bamboo-into-a-high-performance-shoe-fabrication--until-now/?sh=2b5e7f12e90e
- Britannica. Bamboo. https://www.britannica.com/plant/bamboo
- Boody Wear. Benefits of Bamboo. https://boodywear.com/pages/benefits-of-bamboo
- BBC. Can Fashion Ever Be Sustainable? https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200310-sustainable-fashion-how-to-buy-clothes-good-for-the-climate