Looking for a way to beat the heat? Natural fabrics like cotton, linen and yes, bamboo, are all cooling, breathable and eco-friendly, making them the ideal choice for your next mood-lifting wardrobe update.
However, some of these fabrics are far better at cooling than others, and some far more environmentally friendly too.
But in terms of cooling ability, you simply cannot beat bamboo fabrics.
If you’re looking for the best bamboo sheets for night sweats, click to see some of our favourites.
What is bamboo fiber?
Bamboo fiber is obtained from the pith of the bamboo plant, which is the soft tissue between the cortex and external bark.
Bamboo fiber is composed of cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin, and is one of the fastest growing woody plants in the world.
Approximately 25 tons of bamboo fiber is produced per year, which is 10x less than cotton fiber.
What is cotton fiber?
Cotton fiber is made from the cotton linter, a layer of short fibres found between the outer cotton fibers and the seed of the cotton plant.
Unlike bamboo fiber, cotton fiber is not biodegradable.
Cotton is the most widely used fiber in the world, and the United States is the leading producer of cotton in the world, with over 42% of global production.
How do bamboo vs cotton compare in terms of environmental impact?
In terms of environmental impact, bamboo wins in every category.
As mentioned above, bamboo is a rapidly regrowing, sustainable and renewable resource.
Because the bamboo plant is not a food source like cotton, it requires less water and pesticides, and it helps build soil fertility.
Cotton, on the other hand, is a food source, so its cultivation increases the demand for water, pesticides and fertilizers to grow and harvest the crop.
When it comes to its lifecycle, bamboo releases about 90 per cent less carbon into the atmosphere than cotton.
According to the American Forest and Paper Association, a single tree produces on average 4.5 pounds of paper over its lifetime, compared to 11.5 pounds of paper for cotton.
Cotton is short lived, as it is an annual crop, while bamboos can live for four to six years.
This means that bamboo, which provides a “cooling” effect to the environment, is better for the environment than cotton, which provides a “warming” effect.
Natural fibers are also considered to be more natural and with less environmental impact than synthetic fibers.
Of course, there are always trade-offs, and what may be better for the environment in one region or country may be worse for the environment in another region or country.
Because bamboo is grown in many different climates all over the world, the environmental impact of producing bamboo could vary depending on the region.
On the flip side, if you want to be environmentally friendly while supporting and using sustainable fibers, such as bamboo, you can choose to buy clothes made from them, rather than other manmade fibers.
When it comes to textile processing, cotton requires more chemicals, such as pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers.
By increasing the processing of textiles, cotton production can be made more sustainable, however, this is not the case with bamboo.
The cultivation of bamboo does not require as much water, pesticides and fertilizers as cotton production.
While some consider the harvesting of bamboo to be very damaging to the environment, and many attempts have been made to use different harvesting methods with lower impact, bamboo is the fastest-growing plant on earth.
The most destructive harvesting method is clearing the forest, however, there are more sustainable and environmentally friendly ways of harvesting bamboo, such as cutting it by hand or using a special tool.
Producing items such as fabric and apparel from natural resources, such as bamboo, is an excellent way to make our daily lives more sustainable.
Because of its more recent attention in the fashion industry, bamboo is becoming a more widely used resource to create eco-friendly and sustainable textiles.
Bamboo is typically categorized by the texture of the fabric, and the more open or airy the texture, the more it resembles linen.
Some fabrics, like rayon, are produced from bamboo and are referred to as bamboo rayon.
In general, fabrics made from bamboo are more environmentally friendly and sustainable than cotton, and can provide you with the ability to wear clothes that breathe.
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