Bamboo Fabrics Not As Eco-Friendly As You Think

Along with hemp and soy, bamboo has become a popular fabric source with the eco-friendly crowd. Perhaps seeing a brand that tells you an article of clothing is made from bamboo influences your purchase—you’re being environmentally conscious, right? Not quite, says The Wall Street Journal, which recently took a closer look at the bamboo fashion industry that has long been marketed with words like “sustainable” and “green.” Turns out, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has taken a stance against bamboo fibers, stating in a notice that they “are made using toxic chemicals in a process that releases pollutants into the air.”

While well-minded designers may look to bamboo because it has a fast regrowth rate, the processes necessary to create fabric aren’t “green” at all: “The bamboo used in textiles has to be heavily manipulated to go from stem to store. To create fabric, it’s chopped up and dissolved in toxic solvents—the same process that recycles wood scraps into viscose or rayon. Indeed, bamboo fabric technically is rayon.”

Wow. So, how many bamboo pieces in your closet are way less appealing now that they’re less wholesome and, as WSJ says, essentially made of rayon? [WSJ]