I launched a bamboo clothing line a few months ago. Sales have been ok. I have kept to a pretty modest marketing budget so far. I've found the market to be accepting of new fabrics, especially eco-friendly one. I thought I would have to do a lot of consumer education on the product, but I have been pleasantly surprised with how many consumers are familiar and already own some type of bamboo product. Granted, I have marketed towards an eco-conscious audience who would be expected to know about these types of products. I have definitely noticed trends in different regions of the country. Some areas are more conscious of eco-friendly products and therefore are more likely to support this type of brand and product.Ok, so I haven't posted in quite some time, but I'm curious to see if posters here offer a "green" alternative either hemp, organic cotton, or recycled fibers? Do they sell?
Yes, this report has caused bamboo products to be labeled as "viscose bamboo" or "rayon bamboo." Basically, the process in which bamboo is made into fiber is similar to rayon. But there are differences too. With rayon, once the process is complete, it is impossible to detect what the source pulp was because the molecular structure has been changed. But with bamboo, several of the natural properties of organic bamboo can still be found in the fiber after the "rayon" process is complete. Despite manufacturing companies offering third party test results, the FTC refutes these claims. But if they truly believed this to be false and that it was impossible to detect the source of the fiber to be bamboo, then why would the FTC allow labeling to include the word "bamboo?" That completely contradicts the current stance the FTC is taking on bamboo. Supposedly, it takes a long time and a ton of research and development funding to get the FTC to classify a new fiber or fabric. In time, bamboo may qualify. But for now, it does not. So it requires the viscose or rayon qualifier.For those who don't really follow sustainable clothing, bamboo fabric was part of the FTC's consumer alert titled: Have you been bamboozled by Bamboo fabric? It states "The Federal Trade Commission, the nation’s consumer protection agency, wants you to know that the soft “bamboo” fabrics on the market today are rayon.
Most producers of bamboo fiber use caustic soda. While a potentially harmful chemical, it is used in the processing of many textiles including 90% of all cotton on the market. I'm not advocating the use of caustic soda, but it's not fair to condemn bamboo for using it when other common fiber sources use it too.They are made using toxic chemicals in a process that releases pollutants into the air.
That said, the FTC claims have uncovered some legit issues of the processing of bamboo. But it's only fair to mention the good that came of it too. The technology has improved drastically and many manufacturers use a "closed-loop" system that traps the chemicals used in the process. This limits the amount of chemicals released into the environment and also lessens the overall amount of chemicals needed to produce bamboo fiber. New technologies are also being developed, including using the lyocel process which is used to make tencel fiber.
They are referring to the mechanical method of processing bamboo into fiber. It's more like a linen or hemp. But it's still softer than most cottons, just not the same as the soft silk or cashmere feel of bamboo fiber made from the rayon process.Extracting bamboo fibers is expensive and time-consuming, and textiles made just from bamboo fiber don’t feel silky smooth."
Bamboo hit the market with a tremendously high expectation that it was some perfectly organic and eco-friendly textile. While it has been proven not to live up to those lofty expectations, it is still very much a terrific eco-friendly option for people who value these types of products. Whether bamboo is better than organic cotton or other fibers is open for debate. Much of it depends on the specific manufacturing processes of each manufacturing facility. Some consumers will prefer bamboo, some will prefer something else. It's basically impossible for any product to be completely organic in every step of the process from manufacturer to retail shelf. But anything that helps reduce the impact on the environment is a big step in the right direction. And bamboo fits that bill.