Arbor believes bamboo is a more environmentally friendly, technically superior alternative to traditional cotton. As a natural fabric, bamboo is:
·Renewable: Bamboo is a self-propagating grass that grows much faster than other natural fibers—rapidly and continuously delivering more raw material per acre than other natural alternatives.
·Can be sustainably grown: Bamboo is naturally organic and provides its rapid renewability without the use of pesticides, fertilizers, defoliators, irrigation, exhaust spewing machine-based cultivation, or aerial spraying.
·Soft and comfortable: Bamboo fiber is naturally smooth and rounded, providing an ultra soft, non-irritating hand and relaxed drape that surpasses other natural fabrics, including the best cottons.
·Performance oriented: Compared to cotton, Bamboo is generally more breathable, wicks perspiration faster, and provides improved UV protection—all of which help regulate body temperature in warm or cold conditions.
·Hygienic: Most bamboo fabric users believe it to be anti-bacterial and anti-fungal.
Final Note: Conventional cotton is the most toxic crop grown today. It takes 1/3 of a pound of chemicals to grow enough cotton for just one T-shirt. Conventional cotton farming uses over two billion pounds of synthetic pesticides a year and accounts for 24% of the world’s insecticide use. Cotton production also wastes huge land and water resources.
In the interest of full disclosure, please note that in August 2009, the Federal Trade Commission filed suit against a bamboo fabric supplier alleging the following: "The textile fiber products manufactured, marketed, promoted, distributed, and sold by
Respondents consist of rayon and not actual bamboo fibers woven into fabric.
Rayon is the generic name for a type of regenerated, or manufactured, fiber made from
cellulose. Rayon is manufactured by taking purified cellulose from a plant source, also
called a cellulose precursor, and converting it to a viscous solution by dissolving it in one
or more chemicals, such as sodium hydroxide. The chemical solution is then forced
through spinnerets and into an acidic bath where it solidifies into fibers. The process used to manufacture rayon from cellulose involves hazardous chemicals."
Bamboo is considered sustainable because it may be harvested without chemicals, and may re-grow very quickly. However, to break down the stringy material to a liquid and then a fabric for sewing requires a chemical process—the same used in creating rayon. The bamboo cellulose is treated with sodium hydroxide and then combined with carbon disulfide to yield viscose, which looks like honey. For a full report on the differences between bamboo and cotton, please click here to check out an informative article on the Tactics Grind.