Do you ever tell yourself you have to make wiser choices when it comes to clothing and textile in general, but somehow always end up buying cotton or synthetic fibres even though you know it is not ideal if you want to reach your eco-responsible goals?? This sounded like me until recently, before I had this epiphany, I had to change. I am a big fan of second hand shops for clothing, but sometimes I need something, and it’s just not there. I was almost tempted to buy some basic singlets at H&M the other day and I stopped myself just in time, deciding to try out bamboo clothing instead.
Because cotton has so many downsides
Aside from being the most pesticide intensive crop in the world, non organic-cotton production takes up a large proportion of agricultural land, competing with local people to grow their own food. All the chemicals used to aid mechanical cotton harvesting add to the toll on both the environment and human health and they remain in the fabric during the garments lifetime to feed your body with – pardon my French – crap. So after a bit of research, I found that bamboo is actually much much better, not just for clothing – but also for small things we use daily – like toothbrushes.
So why is bamboo more eco-friendly than cotton ?
Bamboo does not need pesticides or fertiliser to grow fast and in abundance
Bamboo is less taxing for our environment for many reasons. Firstly, growing bamboo organically is the norm. Because bamboo is mostly grown in China in accordance to the international organic standard of OCIA/IFOAM and the USDA National Organic Program, each bamboo stalk is of 100% natural growth and without any chemical pesticides harmful for the environment. Bamboo is highly versatile and sustainable, it has an incredibly high growth rate (1 meter per day for one specific Japanese specie!) and is happy in most climates. It also generates up to 35% more oxygen than equivalent stands of trees.
Bamboo can slow deforestation, has little water usage and prevent soil erosion
Unlike tree plantations that have to be chopped down and terminated at harvest, bamboo just keeps on growing. It can be harvested every year without destructing the grove, while harvesting organic cotton requires the destruction of the entire crop causing bare soils to bake in the sun and release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Bamboo is not as thirsty as most trees and let’s say – cotton, which has the largest user of water among all agricultural commodities. And because bamboo has an extensive root system and is never uprooted during harvesting, that means bamboo actually helps preserve soil and prevent soil erosion.
Your bamboo stuff is biodegradable
Bamboo just needs soil, micro organisms, sunlight and a few months to degrade, unlike synthetic fibres such as nylon and polyester that can remain in landfill for much longer.
No one’s perfect, and it happens that bamboo is not an exception. Bamboo does not protect us as much than cotton against UV’s – and that can be a real deal breaker when you live in Australia… Also beware of claims that bamboo clothing is antibacterial, the fabric does NOT retain all of bamboo’s original antibacterial property. ( But it does when used raw for instance for chopping boards, toothbrushes etc. )
Switching to bamboo
When I first decided to support sustainable brands and do more conscious purchases, I realised how hard it can be sometimes to find where to buy. And if you’re like me (and a vast majority of people) and you look for anything you need first on the internet, you might have encountered some difficulties in your research. Unless you exactly know what product you are looking for, search results via your favourite search engine are not helping much. Trying to be eco-conscious and a responsible consumer is harder than I thought but I am glad I found a few providers to help me adopt a more sustainable lifestyle. So. Today I’ll share my love for Bamboo Village – the only bamboo online shop I used so far, but i found that they’re really awesome.
So now here’s my favourite bamboo online shop
Thanks to the lovely people at Bamboo Village, you can order clothing, home/kitchenware, bed & bath product and even your toothbrushes (my favourite because they’re awesome AND compostable). The cherry on the cake, is that they have a free return policy (I tried it and it was seamless, return shipment is prepaid and you can choose either refund, exchange or store credit. Just to clarify – nothing was wrong with the product, I just was just too optimist with the size of my bamboo singlets.).
They also have a ”refer a friend” program, to earn store credit when you share the love with your entourage. For instance if you discovered Bamboo Village via this page, you could be super nice and use this link to access their website and be my sponsor for my next bamboo toothbrush ;-)
I also appreciated Bamboo Village for their attention to detail and genuinely friendly team. I was in touch with Taryn when I had issues with FastWay couriers, and she helped me as mush as she could. And also not to forget that all my parcels came with a free sample of something, here a papaya ointment. The only room for improvement I found was maybe the little notes and flyers sent with the parcel – really sweet – but I believe that’s a waste of paper. And I wonder if there is any alternative to protect clothing than wrapping it in plastic, that would be fantastic.
If you’re going to buy cotton, choose to support the most sustainable brands!
I found this shop Eco DownUnder near my place in Lane Cove, and I think it is a great brand if you’re looking for cotton towels, bed sheets and linens free of chemicals. Before I knew about how cool bamboo is, I bought an organic cotton fitted sheet there and it’s great! Prices are affordable, I’d say sometimes almost cheaper than equivalent quality for ”non” sustainable cotton. The lady I had a chat with in the Lane Cove store was lovely, and also assured me the company knows their producers and respect fair trade principles. I’d say it is best if you come buy directly in one of their store, since ordering online seems to be unfortunately a bit fastidious. List of store locations here. Ah and they are somewhat supporting Sea Shepherd, which I find quite nice…Their promise:
- No chemical coatings
- No synthetic fabrics
- Pollution free oxygen whitening
- No chlorine bleaches
- Naturally coloured cotton that does not need dyes
- Biodegradable packaging
If you tried other online or non-online eco-stores that you loved, please share it!!