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Bamboo

All you need to know

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The non-profit association Vesti la natura provides several free guides specially created to promote the use of low environmental impact materials among consumers and entrepreneurs

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What is Bamboo?

Il Bamboo (or bamboo) is an evergreen plant from which it is possible to obtain bamboo fibre, which, among other things, can be transformed into cellulose and then in one viscose artificial yarn from which you can create a yarn and subsequently a fabric with which to make bamboo garments.

The creation of the bamboo textile fiber occurs by mixing bamboo cellulose with different chemical / synthetic substances, it is therefore wrong to define it as a natural fiber such as cotton, wool, hemp, and linen, since bamboo is an artificial fiber.

Given the high presence of chemistry that is anything but ecological, to believe the sustainable bamboo fabric it is necessary to buy bamboo clothing produced by companies that use sustainable and certified manufacturing processes:

  • Reduction of water consumption during the various processing phases.
  • Production plants with energy sources rinnovabile.
  • Industrial waste water purifiers.
  • Reduction / replacement of toxic substances harmful to humans, the environment and animals.
  • Recycling of chemicals and energy used with closed loop systems.

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The bamboo plant

The height of the bamboo plant it varies from a few centimeters up to over 40 meters. It grows quickly in dense forests and is a very invasive plant whose growth must be controlled to avoid invasion of surrounding land. The bamboo plant requires 1/3 of the amount of water compared to the cotton plant, moreover, having no natural parasites it is grown without the use of chemicals (pesticides, herbicides, etc.).

We can therefore define it as a low environmental impact cultivation.

Bamboo forest

Growing very tall, the plant of Bamboo it needs less arable land than cotton, which occupies a much larger amount of land for the same amount of extracted textile fiber.

Bamboo grows well in warm places, mainly in South America, Africa and Asia, and it is directly in these places that the processing and artificial extraction of the bamboo fiber. It is subsequently imported into Europe and processed by local industries, covering a multitude of industrial and commercial sectors.

One of the main features of the Bamboo is undoubtedly the resistance: despite being very flexible it is almost impossible to break it by hand and this makes it suitable for different uses: fishing rods, bicycle frames, boat sails, it is also used in the food and pharmaceutical sectors.

Bamboo textile fiber

La bamboo fiber it is an artificial fiber and is part of the viscose family, which, in the past, were called artificial silk, or even vegetable silk, by virtue of the silky and airy consistency, which is why bamboo fiber is nowadays defined viscose of bamboo.

Widely used by fashion brands, the bamboo fiber gives clothing a bright and soft touch. It is often mixed with other fabrics, and is an excellent choice in combination with organic cotton.

A unique feature of the bamboo fiber it is its natural anti-bacterial quality, due to an anti-microbial bio agent called "bamboo kun" present in the fiber and which helps to reduce the bacteria that thrive in the tissues, and consequently on our skin.

We do not know for sure whether this anti-microbial agent persists even after fabric processing, but it is known that the Bamboo is particularly suitable to realize anti sweat clothing.

The bamboo fiber it is usually very elastic, so much so that garments made of 100% bamboo fabric do not need to be mixed with elastic fibers such as elastane. Furthermore, bamboo is a biodegradable fabric and its decomposition does not cause environmental pollution (as long as it is made with all the necessary trappings).

Characteristics of Bamboo

Fabric Quality: The qualities of the fabric may vary based on its blending with other fibers. Example: with Elastan or Lycra you gain in elasticity.
  breathable
  Thermoregulator
  Anti-microbial
  Waterproof
  Hygroscopic
  Elastic
  Shining
  Soft
  Does not shrink / discolor
  Quick drying
Ecological Characteristics: The ecological characteristics of the fabric may vary based on textile certifications or blending with other fabrics.
  Natural - Artificial - Synthetic   A
  Biological
  No GMOs
  Biodegradable
  Natural raw material
  Recycled raw material
  Mechanical extraction
  Chemical extraction
  DeTox
  Energy saving
  Sustainability class   C
Textile Certifications:: The certifications that can be assigned to the fabric, but which vary according to different factors: manufacturing company, fashion brand, blending.
Global Organic Textile Standard
Organic Content Standard
Oeko-Tex
Bluesign
Global Recycle Standard
Second Life Plastic
Reach
Animal Free
Peta
VeganOK
Fair Wear Foundation
FairTrade

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Making the bamboo fiber longer-lived: the nuoresearch 2022

Researchers at the University of British Columbia Okanagan (UBCO) exploited a technique of plastination to improve the properties of biocomposites and make them stronger, among these biocomposites is the Bamboo.

Plastination is a process that allows the human body to be preserved by replacing liquids with silicone polymers. This technique makes the organic finds rigid and odorless, keeping the colors unaltered. Plastination was invented and patented by the German anatomopathologist Gunther von Hagens. Read more on Wikipedia

Dr Abbas Milani, UBCO mechanical engineering professor, explained that "with the innovation of nuovi green materials and composites, it is easy to overlook materials such as bamboo and other natural fibers“, Which today are already used in various sectors, such as clothing, automobiles, packaging and construction.

Dr. Milani's team has found a way to strengthen these fibers making them even more environmentally friendly.

"Bamboo has almost the same strength as mild steel, but exhibits greater flexibilitySays Milani, the founding director of the Materials and Manufacturing Research Institute. "With its low weight, affordable cost and abundant availability, bamboo is a promising material, but until now it had one major drawback".

With over 30 million tons produced every year, bamboo is one of the most collected and used natural fibers in the world. However, moisture absorption and atmospheric agents can cause the fibers to deteriorate and weaken over time.

The research team used plastination to dehydrate the bamboo and then use it as a reinforcement with other fibers and materials. In this way it is polymerized into a nuohigh performance hybrid biocomposite.

Plastination was first developed by Gunther von Hagens in 1977 and has been used for the long-term storage of animal, human and fungal remains. The technique ensures the durability of the composite material for both short- and long-term use, says Daanvir Dhir, co-author of the report and recent graduate of UBC Okanagan.

"Plastinated bamboo composite has been blended with glass and polymer fibers to create a lighter yet stronger material than comparable composites“Says Dhir. He added that this nuodurable hybrid composite of bamboo / fiberglass / polypropylene, treated with the technique of plastination, has a promising future.

The research, supported by industrial partner NetZero Enterprises, showed that the addition of a small amount of plastinated materials to the bamboo it can increase the impact absorption capacity of the composite, without losing its elastic properties. This also reduces the degradation rate of the material.

Since plastination takes time, it will be necessary to work much more on optimizing this process and when it seems that we want to study the effect of plastination on other natural fibers, such as flax and hemp.

Bamboo clothing

THEbamboo clothing it is highly breathable, tends to collect moisture from the skin, transforming it into steam and thanks to this feature it can be classified as four seasons: warm in winter and cool in summer.

Many brands of sustainable fashion produce bamboo clothing for men and women, and it happens more and more often to see this ecological fabric also in children's clothing.

Bamboo clothing creates a small screen against UV rays and, if in direct contact with the skin, on hot summer days it helps protect you from the sun.

Il Bamboo a soft touch fiber, and when worn it gives a pleasant sensation of freshness even after several hours of use. Often, given its natural softness, this fiber is compared to cashmere, or even silk, but having tried it, we think it is more similar to Lyocell e Modal.

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Maintenance of ecological fabrics

How is bamboo washed?

The environmental impact of laundry detergents and household cleaners is devastating to our planet, so we highly recommend using environmentally friendly detergents.

Bamboo fabrics are light, highly breathable, dry in a short time and, above all, hardly produce creases, lending themselves very well to the production of "no-iron" garments, which save time and effort.

As for washing, bamboo garments can be easily washed both by hand and in the washing machine. The golden rule of observing the label also applies to bamboo, as it is the most effective way to check if the garments need separate washing or special treatments.

Handwash

If you are preparing to wash by hand, you need to fill a basin with warm water and a little ecological liquid detergent, preferably for delicates. After leaving the clothes to soak for about a quarter of an hour, rinse under cold running water, wring lightly and hang out in the open air or on the drying rack, according to your needs.

Machine wash

For washing in the washing machine it is advisable to choose a program for delicate garments, preferably not higher than 30 degrees, add a little delicate liquid detergent, a teaspoon of bicarbonate and start the cycle, avoiding spinning to the end: ideal it would be to squeeze the garments slightly, to avoid deformation during drying.

Do you want to wash your clothes while minimizing water pollution?

  1. We have selected one of the most sustainable detergent and detergent brands click here to buy an ecological detergent
  2. You could use a Washing Ball to wash without using detergents click here to buy a washing ball
  3. You could use the nuovissimo Ecoegg, a nice ecological egg with which you can do about 720 washes click here to buy the ecoegg egg

Frequent questions-

Do you want more information on Bamboo? Ask your questions using the form below.

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Our answers:

Where can I buy the bamboo fabric?

Vesti la natura has created a table with more than 40 sustainable materials, their respective applications in the textile sector, and their suppliers (even for small quantities). To access the table we ask you to donate a small financial contribution to our association. Click here for more information.

Is bamboo clothing hypoallergenic?

Although there are no scientific studies on this, many people who suffer from allergic reactions to natural fabrics such as wool, hemp or synthetic microfibers do not complain of problems wearing bamboo clothing, which is often referred to as a hypoallergenic fabric. Attention: the fashion company that makes bamboo clothing must be certified and respect the canons of sustainable production that avoids the use of toxic substances throughout the production phase. An ecological fabric alone is not enough, we have seen it with natural fibers, which analyzed in the laboratory are rich in substances that are highly harmful to our skin and the environment.

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