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The fast growing grass has made its mark as an eco-crop. From construction to homewares to fabrics, bamboo is having its moment in the limelight. But given that some claims associated with bamboo have been disputed, such as its sustainability, UV protection, and antibacterial properties, is it really the miracle crop many are claiming it to be? Is bamboo fabric sustainable?
Bamboo itself can be a highly sustainable crop, if grown under the right conditions. While most bamboo fabrics on the market are a form of rayon where the manufacturing process is intensive and involves harmful chemicals, recent years have seen an improvement in how these chemicals are managed, which is a step in the right direction. Bamboo fabrics are certainly a step up from polyester and conventional cotton, so as long as the brand is transparent about its origins, it can be a safe bet as a more sustainable option.
Modal is manufactured from cellulose using chemical processing, just as are bamboo, rayon (viscose) and lyocell. In the case of modal, the cellulose comes from softwood trees. The manufacturing process is closed loop, which means that the chemicals used in processing are captured and reused. The small amount of discharged is considered non-hazardous. The finished textile is biodegradable and also takes well to natural dyes, eliminating the need for more harmful chemical dyes. Although in most cases modal is still dyed with conventional chemical dyes.
Organic linen comes from a flax plant that is farmed without any use of toxic chemicals at the farming or processing stage.
The flax plant usually grows naturally in Western Europe, in temperate climates.
During the production of conventional silk, the cocoons are boiled or steamed in a process known as stifling, which kills the silkworm to prevent it from piercing its way out of the casing and breaking the thread into shorter filaments. In 1990, Indian sericulturist Kusuma Rajaiah came up with a way to produce silk without harming the silkworms which gave birth to Ahimsa silk, also known as peace silk (ahimsa means non-violent). The principle of peace silk is to allow the silkworm to emerge from its cocoon before the silk thread is harvested.
Peace silk is exactly the same as regular silk, the only difference is during the production of traditional silk, the silkworm is boiled alive but with Peace Silk the top of the cocoon is gently cut open to allow the developing moth to escape and to finish its natural lifecycle outside of the cocoon. It is a very peaceful, non-violent way of harvesting silk and a final product that cannot be duplicated by machines.
Hemp fabric gives all the softness of other natural textiles, but with a strength that is an amazing 3 times higher than cotton.
This unique durability makes it uniquely hard-wearing and long-lasting.
Hemp fabric is a long-lasting and durable fabric which is made from the long strands of fiber that make up the stalk of the plant.
These fibers are separated from the bark through a process called “retting.”
The retted fibers are then spun together to produce a continuous thread (or yarn) that can be woven into a fabric.
Recycled Polyester, much like traditional polyester, is a man-made fabric.
However, recycled polyester is made from recycled plastic such as plastic bottles.
Recycled polyester is made by breaking down used plastic into small, thin chips. These thin pieces and chips are then melted down further and spun into yarn, which is then made into fabric.