Read on to find out where it comes from, how it’s made and why we love to use Bamboo in a wide range of our products.
Bamboo is the fastest-growing plant in the world and a member of the grass family making it an amazing resource. It is known for its tall and hollow stems that reach their full height in just one growing season and continues to harden and mature over the years. Bamboo is highly sustainable and can be harvested annually, requiring very little water, much less energy than any other plants used for fabric production and no fertilisers or pesticides to grow. It can grow naturally only needing natural rainfall.
Bamboo is a renewable crop: plantations require very little maintenance while it can regenerate from its original root without ever needing replanting. While growing, bamboo roots also help to improve soil quality by rebuilding eroded soil and binding the soil together, improving the hydrological functions of forest ecosystems.
Sustainability – Environmental impact of Bamboo
Bamboo has a superior ability to produce oxygen and helps to clean the air we breathe. Being able to absorb five times more carbon (CO2) from the air and produce 35% more oxygen than an equal amount of trees, it is super eco-friendly owing to its ability to grow so quickly. Like all green plants, bamboo turns sunlight and carbon dioxide into energy and its high metabolism allows bamboo to perform this cycle quicker than any other plant, providing cleaner air into the atmosphere.
Global warming is a result of unusually high levels of CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere mainly caused by industry and commercial electricity use, burning of fossil fuels and heat production. High carbon levels are throwing off weather patterns, bringing more frequent disasters and causing rising sea levels.
The act of absorbing carbon dioxide (CO2) and releasing oxygen is why we refer to our forests as the “lungs of the planet.” It is a process that is essential in healing the planet and keeping it safe by counteracting the emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases and reversing the root cause of climate change. Bamboo is amazing at doing this.
Bamboo fabric manufacturing process
Like all other fabrics, Bamboo comes with its own share of environmental impact despite being sustainable. The process of manufacturing clothing typically involves spinning, weaving, dyeing, as well as clothing transportation which can consume high levels of energy. This is then continued by the consumer by washing and ironing. Investing in high quality and long lasting clothing rather than cheap and disposable fashion is very important.
Bamboo fibre is made by pulping the grass until it separates into thinner threads. These threads are then spun for weaving into cloth. In its unspun form, bamboo resembles cotton, a ball of light and fluffy fibres. The production of bamboo fibre is normally done in one of two ways: mechanically or chemically.
- Mechanical methods involve crushing the bamboo into pulp. It is least harmful but more labour-intensive (and thus expensive) and comprises only a minuscule portion of the bamboo fabric market.
- The chemical process involves dissolving bamboo chunks with the use of solvents leaving behind a substance that is then spun into fibres, giving it a softer texture. This process is more common in bamboo production although the use of chemicals raises concerns regarding sustainability and potential harm to the environment.
However, because the market appeal for bamboo clothing is rapidly growing, manufacturers including ourselves are working to process bamboo fibre using methods that are certifiable and more environmentally friendly. These include closed-loop systems such as the Lyocell method and processes that involve using safer solvents such as acetic acid.
Our Bamboo fabric is manufactured using safer solvents and all resources from solvent to water is recycled.
Different types of Bamboo fabric
There are three main types of bamboo fabric depending on the production process; Bamboo Viscose, Lyocell Bamboo and Fine Bamboo (also known as Bamboo Fibre and sometimes referred to as Bamboo Linen).
Also called Bamboo Rayon, comes from the bamboo plant’s cellulose and is the most popular type of bamboo fabric. The cellulose is extracted from the plant and then turned into bamboo chips. Once soaked, the chips turn into pulp which is then spun into threads and woven into fabric.
Lyocell bamboo is produced in a similar way to Bamboo Viscose. However, the cellulose does not change its chemical composition during the manufacturing process. Lyocell fabric is produced using a closed-loop manufacturing process using a non-toxic solvent known as amine oxide to break down bamboo pulp. The water and solvent used in this process is recovered and reused, significantly reducing water consumption. Left over waste is minimal and harmless to the environment.
Fine Bamboo otherwise known as Bamboo fibre uses a mechanical method of production involving the physical breakdown of bamboo pulp as opposed to chemical. As a result, this textile tends to be coarser and less comfortable compared to Bamboo Viscose and Bamboo Lyocell.
Bamboo is often blended with 30% cotton. This adds more structure to garments and combines the strength of Cotton with the amazing benefits of Bamboo.
Features and benefits of bamboo in clothing
Not only is it eco-friendly when made sustainably, it is used widely in the textile industry because of its many advantages:
- Breathability and moisture wicking – Bamboo fabric offers a high level of ventilation making it cool and comfortable to wear. Its breathability is due to the cross-section structure of the Bamboo fibre. Filled with micro-gaps and holes, it lets the moisture wick away easily.
- Soft and smooth – Bamboo is one of the softest fabrics. Its fibres are long, round and smooth and they get softer and softer as it is used and washed. For this reason Bamboo is a non-irritating fabric, particularly indicated for babies and those with sensitive skins.
- Temperature regulating – The natural thermal conductivity, resistance and water vapour permeability properties of Bamboo make it a thermo-regulating fabric. It helps to ensure that you stay cool during the summer and warm in winter, keeping your body temperature regulated.
- Antibacterial, hypoallergenic and odour resistant – Bamboo is odour resistant and an amazing deodoriser due to a naturally occurring antimicrobial agent called Bamboo Kun found in it that prevents the growth of germs and bacteria. Bamboo is also fast drying and will keep you fresh all day with no bad smells.
- UV absorbing – The natural UV resistant properties of bamboo fabric makes it perfect for sensitive skin. It blocks out 98% of harmful UV rays making it perfect for holidays and traveling.
Uses of bamboo fabric: clothing, underwear and towels
Bamboo fabric, thanks to its versatility, softness, smoothness, breathability and durability can be used for a wide range of clothing items such as shirts, dresses and socks and because of its antimicrobial properties, is ideal for active wear and underwear too.
In general, bamboo can be used for practically every application in which cotton is used.
Organic Bamboo Towels
As bamboo is one of the strongest substances in world, it produces durable and superb value towels. These towels are long lasting and remain soft even after washes.
Our pure Bamboo Towels are guaranteed organic and certified as chemical free. They’re highly absorbent, quick to dry and hypoallergenic.
They are a skin-kind essential in your skincare routine. Bamboo Wash Cloths are a sustainable alternative to synthetic, disposable face wipes or pads coated with harmful chemicals. They will cleanse the skin kindly removing any dirt, oils or makeup; they work greatly as exfoliating scrub, helping remove dead skin cells even in the most sensitive skin, leaving your skin smooth and glowing.
Our Bamboo Fashion Range
We have used Bamboo in a wide range of our clothing. Our Bamboo clothing will ensure you comfort and breathability without compromising on style.
Our timeless tops and t-shirts will be reached for again and again and will never go out of fashion.
Neck and Chest Warmers
Our Bamboo Necks and Chest Warmers will keep you warm without overheating and irritation. While being soft and comfortable, they’re perfect for even sensitive skin.
Underwear for Him and Her
Our soft Bamboo Underwear has antibacterial and moisture-wicking properties, leaving you fresh and dry all day long.
Helping you to reduce your footprint
Bamboo fabric is biodegradable. It comes from nature and eventually returns to nature by decomposing harmlessly in soil without polluting the environment.
Our Bamboo items and Bamboo-Cotton clothing lasts longer and ages naturally, growing softer with each wash. They need less washing and thanks to their durability and their timeless style, can be worn year after year, drastically reducing the carbon footprint of your clothing choices.
Buying from Patra means that you have chosen to support a brand that is actively working on creating a positive environmental impact. We are playing our part in protecting the planet.
Read more about how we are being sustainable here.