Is bamboo fabric biodegradable? 

This article will explore the biodegradability aspect of bamboo fabric. Other topics covered would include: 

  • Is bamboo fabric biodegradable?
  • Is it possible to compost bamboo fabric?
  • What are the disadvantages of bamboo fabric?
  • Why should you buy clothes made from bamboo fabric?
  • Why should you not buy clothes made from bamboo fabric?
  • Is bamboo better than cotton?
  • What is the future of bamboo fabric?
  • FAQs

Is bamboo fabric biodegradable?

Bamboo fabric is a biodegradable material because it is made from bamboo which is a crop-type grass. Therefore, even if bamboo is used to make the fabric, there will not be any significant impacts on the environment and the climate. 

However, it is not all glittery. Certain chemicals are used to make bamboo fabric that can lead to degradative effects not only on the environment but human health is also affected. 

The effects on the environment may include soil degradation, water degradation, pollution, and effect on the association of flora and fauna. For example, chemical sulphide is mostly used in bamboo fabric which causes air pollution. 

Regardless, the bamboo fabric must be preferred because of the fact that bamboo is quite sustainable. It is not only biodegradable but also readily renewable. With the characteristics of wood, it actually is a type of grass. 

It is estimated that bamboo may grow several metres in one day. Also, bamboo required less water and agrochemicals to grow as compared to its counterparts such as cotton.

How readily can bamboo fabric degrades?

Biodegradation is the breakdown which is caused by microbes and facilitated by external factors such as aeration, temperature et cetera. 

There are two aspects or conditions that determine if something is biodegradable or not. These include how readily a product degrades and how eco-friendly or sustainable it is. 

As regards bamboo fabric, it is a biodegradable material because it is made from bamboo which is a crop-type grass. 

The reason why bamboo is termed crop-type grass is that it is highly renewable. Therefore, even if bamboo is used to make the fabric, there will not be any significant impacts on the environment and the climate. 

Also, bamboo can degrade readily because bamboo is a plant-based material that will have the necessary nutrients that microbes can use as food. 

In light of these points, bamboo fabric is regarded as readily biodegradable and will degrade in a few months. The exact duration will vary based on external conditions. 

Is it possible to compost bamboo fabric?

Yes, any material that is made from bamboo can be composted since bamboo is a natural, plant-driven material. 

It is biodegradable and also non-toxic. Also, it does not lead to any toxic or hazardous fumes and that makes bamboo fabric compostable. 

However, you need to be careful that bamboo fabric should not be treated with synthetic chemicals or dyes. If that’s the case, then it is not advisable to compost bamboo fabric. 

The primary reason behind it is the synthetic chemicals and dyes used can degrade soil quality and affect life. In short, there will be more negative effects than positive ones. That’s why options such as bamboo rayon should be avoided. 

However, if bamboo fabric is pure and organic it can definitely be used as compost. One example is lyocell-like fabric. 

This compost can be used as a natural fertiliser that can actually improve soil quality, soil fertility and water retention profiles. 

What are the disadvantages of bamboo fabric?

We have heard of the proverb that nothing is perfect. The same is the case for bamboo fabric as well. 

Although the bamboo fabric is made from a biodegradable, sustainable, and renewable material; there still are a number of factors that can affect our environment. 

One of them is that bamboo fabric is mostly processed with synthetic chemicals and dyes. This is done to achieve affordable utility. 

However, when these chemicals are used, there are degradative effects not only on the environment but human health is also affected. 

The effects on the environment may include soil degradation, water degradation, pollution, and effect on the association of flora and fauna. For example, chemical sulphide is mostly used in bamboo fabric which causes air pollution. 

As regards the effects on health, these may include skin allergies, skin irritation, respiratory issues, developmental issues, liver damage, and psychosis. The list goes on. 

Therefore, it is advisable to limit the use of synthetic chemicals and dyes so that the environment may be protected and the sustainability factor of bamboo can be utilised in the best possible ways. 

Why should you buy clothes made from bamboo?

Let us explore some of the reasons why one should prioritise clothes made from bamboo. 

Let us start with the raw material which is bamboo itself. As a raw material, bamboo is quite sustainable. It is not only biodegradable but also readily renewable. With the characteristics of wood, it actually is a type of grass. 

It is estimated that bamboo may grow several metres in one day. Also, bamboo required less water and agrochemicals to grow as compared to its counterparts such as cotton. 

The clothes from bamboo will also have a sustainability aspect because of the eco-friendliness of its raw material. 

Another reason why bamboo fabric must be preferred is that the production of garments takes a lot of toll on the environment. 

It is estimated that garment production is responsible for about 10% of global greenhouse emissions. 

When people shift to sustainable clothing such as bamboo fabrics, these effects can be alleviated and mitigated. 

Why should you not choose bamboo clothing?

Now, let us explore some of the reasons why bamboo clothing should or can not be preferred. 

One reason behind it is that bamboo clothing is relatively expensive and not that durable. When buying bamboo clothing, you may be compromising on the utilitarian aspect which many people are not willing to do. 

As regards the environmental aspect, there are some loopholes here too. Although bamboo clothing is made from a highly sustainable raw material, it does not mean that it wouldn’t be treated with chemicals. 

There are two ways or approaches that can be adopted when it comes to the making of clothes. One is mechanical and the other is chemical. 

The chemical way, which is mostly preferred, involves the use of harmful chemicals that can affect the environment and human health. 

One form of bamboo clothing is bamboo rayon which is made with chemicals. Therefore, it is not compulsory that if clothes are made from bamboo, they are sustainable. 

In light of these effects, it all depends on the consumers to be aware of the ground reality and make sustainable choices accordingly. 

Is bamboo clothing better than cotton? (7 reasons) 

Cotton is the most commonly used fabric in the world. By comparing cotton with bamboo fabric, we can have a decent idea of how eco-friendly bamboo clothing is. 

As per studies, it is claimed that bamboo is better than cotton not only from the perspective of sustainability but also from the perspective of utility. 

As regards utility, consider the following points: 

  • Bamboo fabric is more durable
  • Bamboo fabric is easy to handle
  • Bamboo fabric can bear wear and tear
  • Bamboo fabric requires less caring
  • Bamboo fabric is resistant to odour
  • Bamboo fabric is softer
  • Bamboo fabric requires less washing

As regards the environmental factor, as raw material, bamboo is quite more sustainable than cotton. It is not only biodegradable but also readily renewable. With the characteristics of wood, it actually is a type of grass. 

It is estimated that bamboo may grow several metres in one day. Also, bamboo required less water and agrochemicals to grow as compared to its counterparts such as cotton. 

The clothes from bamboo will also have a sustainability aspect because of the eco-friendliness of its raw material. 

On the other hand, cotton requires more use of agrochemicals and water. Water requirements lead to water scarcity which is already very scarce and limited. 

The use of agrochemicals leads to environmental impacts such as pollution, soil degradation, effect on flora and fauna, bioaccumulation et cetera. 

Owing to these factors, bamboo is a better choice than cotton. However, it is not that cheap which may be the reason why cotton is the most used fabric. 

What is the future of bamboo fabrics?

Bamboo fabrics are already regarded as the trendiest sustainable fabrics. However, as we have seen, there are still some loopholes that need to be addressed. 

It is very likely that the future of bamboo clothing will address the issues such as the use of chemicals or growing bamboo fabrics unsustainably. 

We have witnessed a growing trend toward sustainability and this very trend will urge producers to make bamboo clothing as eco-friendly as possible. 

Conclusion

It is concluded that bamboo fabric is a biodegradable material because it is made from bamboo which is a crop-type grass. The reason why bamboo is termed crop-type grass is that it is highly renewable. Therefore, even if bamboo is used to make the fabric, there will not be any significant impacts on the environment and the climate. 

However, it is not all glittery. Certain chemicals are used to make bamboo fabric that can lead to degradative effects not only on the environment but human health is also affected. 

The effects on the environment may include soil degradation, water degradation, pollution, and effect on the association of flora and fauna. For example, chemical sulphide is mostly used in bamboo fabric which causes air pollution. 

Regardless, the bamboo fabric must be preferred because of the fact that bamboo is quite sustainable. It is not only biodegradable but also readily renewable. With the characteristics of wood, it actually is a type of grass. 

It is estimated that bamboo may grow several metres in one day. Also, bamboo required less water and agrochemicals to grow as compared to its counterparts such as cotton. It is not just about the environment, bamboo is better off than cotton because it is: 

  • requires less caring
  • resistant to odour
  • Softer
  • durable
  • easy to handle
  • bear wear and tear

Frequently Asked Questions: Is bamboo fabric biodegradable?

Is bamboo better than cotton?

Yes, bamboo fabric is better than cotton because not only it delivers better utility but also requires fewer chemicals as compared to cotton. However, there is one downside. It may be more expensive and less available than cotton. 

Is bamboo a natural source?

Bamboo is a crop type of grass. The reason why bamboo is termed crop-type grass is that it is highly renewable. Therefore, even if bamboo is used to make the fabric, there will not be any significant impacts on the environment and the climate. 

References

  • Mishra, R., Behera, B. K., & Pada Pal, B. (2012). The novelty of bamboo fabric. Journal of the Textile Institute, 103(3), 320-329.
  • Nurul Fazita, M. R., Jayaraman, K., Bhattacharyya, D., Mohamad Haafiz, M. K., Saurabh, C. K., Hussin, M. H., & HPS, A. K. (2016). Green composites made of bamboo fabric and poly (lactic) acid for packaging applications—A review. Materials, 9(6), 435.
  • Fibre2fashion. Bamboo – The most eco-friendly fabric on Earth. Retrieved from: https://www.fibre2fashion.com/industry-article/3842/benefits-of-bamboo-fabric
  • Okafor, Jenifer. (March 06, 2021). Bamboo Fabric & Sustainability. Retrieved from: https://www.trvst.world/sustainable-living/fashion/bamboo-fabric-sustainability/

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