February 28, 2008

Is Bamboo Really Green?

bamboo-forest.jpg There's no doubt that bamboo grows like a weed, but what about the processes used to turn bamboo into fabric and flooring?
  •  LA Times: Green clothes: How green is my bamboo T-shirt?- This article states that farming is what makes bamboo clothing green, but that "strong chemical solvents such as sodium hydroxide (NaOH - also known as caustic soda or lye) and carbon disulfide in a process also known as hydrolysis alkalization combined with multi-phase bleaching" is used to break down the woody shoots and leaves.  These chemicals are especially harmful to workers.
"growing it is really green, but manufacturing it into useful plywood boards, for anything that the tubular stalks won't do on their own...well, not so much. It's a pretty messy, intensive process; as such, it's important to look for bamboo made with water-based, formaldehyde-free adhesives with low/no-VOC finishes, if you're looking for some grass-based interiors."
"the manufacturing processes where bamboo the plant is transformed into bamboo the fabric are where the sustainability and eco-friendly luster of bamboo is tarnished because of the heavy chemicals, some of which are toxic, that are often required. Very, very little bamboo clothing would qualify as sustainable or organic clothes."
Bamboo can be processed naturally, similar to how linen is processed from flax, but "very little bamboo linen is manufactured for clothing because it is more labor intensive and costly."

Read More in: ...and Really Not | Fashion | Green Homes

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Posted by Jennifer Lance at February 28, 2008 6:19 AM

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