What makes our Bamboo Fabric different; Part 1

Published Oct 17 2019 in bamboo, eco friendly, garment manufacturing, Made in Canada, sustainable

There are very few fabrics that get a perfect report card in terms of what's best for the environment. To access any fabric, it's important to look at the whole process; where it comes from in the beginning, how it's made and the end of the cycle as well. As an eco-conscious company, we want to share with you the reasons we've chosen to use Canadian made bamboo in our designs.

If you have worn our bamboo clothing, you'll already know that it is naturally soft, drapes beautifully and is extremely comfortable to wear. This was our original inspiration for using organic bamboo for our designs. As awareness grows for the health and wellness of our planet, using natural fabrics has become a movement rather than just a trend.

It's important to us to source our fabric in Canada as much as possible because the standards for (water) waste management and pollution are so much higher than other countries where Bamboo usually comes from.

Water pollution in Jian River, China

photo credit: RiverBlue

Natural Fibers

Sustainable fabric is sourced from the environment, this can occur in one of two ways, either plant-based fibers (like linen, cotton, bamboo) or sourced from animals, (like silk, wool, cashmere) The fibers are grown, extracted and spun into yarn that is then used to either knit or weave textiles. By contrast, polyester; a synthetic petroleum-based fiber, is made from a carbon-intensive non-renewable resource.

Bamboo, the Plant

Bamboo is a wonderfully beneficial plant and just might be the world’s most sustainable resource. It does not require the use of pesticides and herbicides for crop production, as a result, plantations can easily be kept organic. Additionally, as the plant is flood and drought resistant, water irrigation is not necessary for production, requiring very little maintenance.

It’s extremely fast growing and can grow up to a meter or more per day. It produces a huge biomass, both above and below the ground. Growing bamboo improves soil quality and helps rebuild eroded soil. The extensive root system of bamboo prevents soil erosion by holding the soil together and retaining water. It doesn’t require replanting each season because its vast root network continually sprouts new shoots, all the while converting sunlight and greenhouse gases into new growth. One study found that when planted in large groves, it can store 4 times the CO2 as a stand of trees of a similar size. 

Diane Kennedy Bamboo Made in Canada

 

Sustainability

The second step of sustainable fabrics is how the fabric is manufactured into textiles and the impact that manufacturing has on the environment. This includes energy consumption and water consumption during manufacturing. The objective is to keep both consumption rates to a minimum. 

Energy Use

We purchase about 85% of our bamboo fabric from a mill in Canada, which uses hydro-electricity, and green energy. The natural flow of water in rivers offers kinetic power that can be transformed into usable energy. To produce hydroelectricity, the water flow is directed to the blades of a turbine, making it spin, which causes an electrical generator connected to the turbine to spin as well. This generates electricity. Our supplier uses a combination of hydroelectricity and natural gas, which is used to heat the boilers that heats the water used to dye the fabric. In contrast, fabric made in China uses coal to fuel factories which causes so much pollution it can be seen from satellite photos.

These are just some of the reasons that make our bamboo fabric different. Please, visit our blog next week to read part 2.