Eco Myths Busted: Is Bamboo Sustainable? Why Organic Cotton is the More “Green” Choice.
Have you ever heard that bamboo is a “sustainable fabric”? If so, you probably also heard the long list of benefits of stretchy bamboo fabrics including:
- Highly sweat absorbent
- Natural UV protection
Okay… but is it true? Is bamboo sustainable?
Sure – we can definitely agree that the bamboo tree is natural, it regenerates quickly, requires little irrigation and is biodegradable but what you probably didn’t know is the true environmental impact of producing “bamboo fabrics”:
Turning bamboo into a light, stretchy fabric requires a ton of chemicals that are bad for the environment. The final fabric product is a fabric called rayon or viscose, which contains little to no trace of the bamboo plant or any of it’s beneficial antimicrobial properties.
The regulation on bamboo fabrics wasn’t put into place until 2019 and some places continue to misleadingly labeling bamboo fabrics as being ecofriendly.
Rayon from Bamboo:
According to the Competition Bureau, it is required that fabrics made from bamboo include terms such as “rayon”, “viscose” or “rayon from bamboo”. If you spot a product that misrepresenting its products as “bamboo” without any mention of rayon or viscose, it should be reported to the Competition Bureau online or by calling 1-800-348-5358.
Now, let's talk about organic cotton.
What is organic cotton and is it the more eco friendly choice?
Conventional cotton has been advertised as an unsustainable choice due to its use of harmful chemicals required for production. While this is true, certified organic cotton fabric contains no pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers or genetically modified seeds (GMOs).
Organic fabrics such as organic cotton are not only sustainable, but they provide benefits to the ecosystem by preventing water and soil contamination and decreasing the harmful substances released by chemicals such as pesticides.
Apparel that is made with 100% organic cotton are softer than a conventional 100% cotton t-shirt. The fabric is hypoallergenic and extremely breathable.
That’s why we have chosen to make our hiking neck gaiter from organic cotton. It is also made with a sustainable and environmentally produced fabric called Tencel. If you haven’t heard about it, you can read more about it here.
Learn more about the Consumer Alert on bamboo fabric in Canada on the Government of Canada website.