Bamboo, is it a water tight solution to helping save the planet?
The world’s population is demanding ever increasing luxury and greater disposability day by day. At The Cotton Textile Company, our environmentally conscious brands are asking for organic and sustainable fabrics. Whilst our raw product, cotton, is renewable and a natural resource, we can still do better.
Our research tells us that organic cotton is very expensive, recycled cotton, can also be expensive and will not work for our woven products. Man-made fabrics are largely reliant on the petro-chemical industry which has its own environmental issues.
Bamboo however is currently the best substitute we have and possibly better than cotton! Bamboo is far more comfortable than cotton and performs better as a towel or garment because it is:
- Softer and doesn’t pill in the same way as cotton yarns
- Odour resistant
- Better at wicking moisture away from the body than cotton
- 40% more absorbent than cotton
- Antimicrobial, antifungal and antibacterial properties
In addition to these immediate benefits, bamboo can be a huge benefit in communities. Like cotton, it is a cash crop that supports 3rd world countries, reducing poverty in many parts of the world. Bamboo has an edge over cotton though as it:
- Grows to its full height in just 8-10 weeks
- Generates 60 tonne harvests, versus 20 tonnes for cotton per hectare and
- Requires 30% of the volume of water needed by cotton
So not only is it better than cotton as a fibre, it can be a greater influence and more productive financially for those that farm it as a crop. Furthermore, when we look at our planets wider needs, cotton is produced on every continent in vast quantities, an increase in Bamboo production would;
- Reduce the need for deforestation as it is harvested annually
- Reduce soil erosion as it is cut rather than ‘dug’ when harvested
- It is primarily an organic crop reducing the need for fertilizers
- Absorbs more CO2 than trees (in 1 hectare it absorbs 63 tonnes per year compared to 15 tonnes for trees)
- Generates 35% more oxygen than the same area of trees
- Doesn’t require irrigation in the same way as many crops therefore saving one of our most valuable resources.
- When Bamboo products reach the end of their life they can be composted.
Faced with these facts surely Bamboo is going to be one of the most important raw materials we have in this world of ever increasing demands. The above benefits are great for the towel and clothing industry, which is our focus so we won’t dwell on the properties of bamboo that could benefit in the use as kitchen utensils, toothbrushes, construction, housebuilding and furniture industries to name a few.
At the Cotton Textile Company, we now offer a stock range of Bamboo Towels and Bath Robes as well as use it as a raw fabric in the production of Jacquard Woven towels. One of our other popular bespoke products is socks and again here we can use Bamboo yarn, (think of the benefits of its odour eating properties!).