Ode to Bamboo // From Bamboo to Organic Cotton and Back
Bamboo. More precisely bamboo viscose. It may not be validated by the fancy GOTS certificate (Global Organic Textile Standards), but we still ended up choosing it as the main material of our ethical brand.
It was a long and exhausting fight - cotton or bamboo?
We asked everywhere on the net, talked to every expert from every ecological center we could find, practically built a hotline between us and the Ministry of the Environment - all of that in search of one, truly eco-friendly winner. And the conclusion? There’s none. However surprised and unsatisfied we were, the truth was that even after hours of research, we found no-one capable of answering the question of which one of these materials (considering everything from its origin to the way it’s being processed) is more eco-friendly. Why?
Let’s talk about it!
The best way to find at least some answers would be through a LCA (life-cycle assessment) analysis. It’s basically a process that compares a bunch of products with common purpose, for example - in a 10 year-period, I’ll “consume” a certain number of briefs made from a certain material a certain way. The problem is that such study is not only very time-consuming and expensive, but also dependent on the time (everything changes - from technologies to sources of energy for electricity and heat) and even the country (results differ in Australia, USA and France) of it’s execution.
This leads us to the material we ended up not choosing. Cotton. Organic or not, it’s still one of the energetically more demanding plants that needs a lot of water (and that is not the only problem, we can talk about stuff like its impact on soil salinization some other time). Organic means it’s grown according to rules of ecological agriculture - with as little use of chemicals as possible and in ways that are considerate to the surrounding land. Is it enough though?
Researching viscose and cotton have become almost a hobby to us. And even though it’s not over, for now, we decided to go with bamboo.
And we want you to know why!
Firstly, it’s an incredibly resilient plant - there’s no need for any pesticides, fertilisers nor insecticides. All it needs is just plain old rain water and a piece of land - which also doesn’t require any modifications. It simply grows wherever it fancies it - sometimes even a meter a day! It produces about 30% more oxygen than cotton and absorbs more CO2 than most full grown trees. The least “clean” part of the process is breaking the wood into fibers. At this point chemicals have to get involved. The bamboo is crushed, melted and then made into thread. Chemicals?! Our hearts missed a beat..! However, after we calmed down and dived into some further research, we found out that if used responsibly and repeatedly, they have no negative impact on our planet, nor the workers involved. And you definitely won’t find any on the final products - they simply wash away.
In conclusion, we’ll keep on educating ourselves, but for now, antibacterial bamboo is the material we want to work with and spend our days in. Whether we wanna feel pretty on a date, dry doing sports or just comfortable every other relaxing morning at home.
Wanna hear about the dying process? We’ll talk about that some other time!