Bambooya only sells Viscose from Organicbamboo clothing and Bamboo Baby clothing made by Bamboosa, a very eco friendly, and just plain friendly company, that manufactures these great products right here in the USA! Eco Rayon Viscose from Bamboo is softer than soft, but a lot goes into the process of making viscose from organic bamboo, so here are some facts and questions answered:
Viscose From Bamboo Processing in Bamboo Clothing:
Where is the bamboo grown?
The bamboo is grown on managed farms/plantations in Southeastern China. Since all of the viscose made from bamboo is processed in China and there is an abundance of bamboo growing in China, we use the bamboo grown there.
The viscose from organic bamboo comes from China and the manufacturing processes (spinning, knitting, dyeing, and sewing) is completed in South Carolina. Occasionally, the yarn comes from China, as opposed to the viscose, and then the manufacturing is completed in S.C.
I have read that they are clear cutting old growth forest in China to make way for more green bamboo farms. Is that true?
So far there is absolutely no evidence of any cutting of timber to plant bamboo. In fact, in 2007 the forest area in China grew by 12.84 million acres or the equivalent of nearly 2.3 billion trees. On January 14, 2008, China announced plans to plant more than 2.5 billion trees in 2008 covering an additional 13.09 million acres. The National Forest Restoration Program in China also has strict protection in place for existing forest land.
We have heard there is more than one type of process for making viscose made from organic bamboo. If that is true, what are the different types and do you use all of them? If not, which types do you use?
There are two main types of processing viscose from bamboo: The first is usually described as mechanical, and the second as chemical. Very little of the mechanical type of viscose from bamboo is in circulation and is not widely used. The viscose from bamboo produced chemically is what is used mostly and what most companies are using at this time.
What chemicals are used in the processing of your viscose from organic bamboo and are they hazardous?
The main chemical used in the processing is sodium hydroxide also known as caustic soda. Caustic soda is one of the most widely used chemicals in the world. It is used in food production, soap making, manufacturing of bio diesel, production of paper, and is used on nearly all cotton fabrics, including organic cotton, during wet processing. Caustic soda is approved for use on textiles under the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS).
While caustic soda is a strong chemical it poses no health hazard if used and disposed of properly.
Some other manufacturers of viscose from organic bamboo clothing say their apparel is Oeko Tex 100 certified, which means that no harmful chemicals were used in the production of their product and that their product is certified to be chemical free. Are your products certified to the Oeko Tex 100 Standard?
There seems to be a fair amount of confusion regarding the Oeko Tex 100 Standard and what it means. The Oeko Tex 100 Standard is a certification of a product at a given point in the manufacturing process. The certification states that there are no chemicals present in the product, at that point in the processing, that would be harmful to human health, including that of babies. It does not certify that no chemicals were used in the processing nor does it make any evaluation of what processes were used or any evaluation of the facilities that participated. There are other Oeko Tex certifications, such as 1000 and 100+ that certify processes or facilities but Oeko Tex 100 does not.
To our knowledge, all of the viscose made from bamboo produced is Oeko Tex 100 certified. We know for sure that the viscose from bamboo that we purchase has achieved that certification. Bamboosa currently has no further certifications past the point of the viscose from organic bamboo. However, the facility where we do our wet processing (dyeing and finishing of fabrics) is working on GOTS certification. We can assure our customers there are no chemicals used in our wet processing (dyeing and finishing) that are not approved for use by GOTS.
We do know that there are some purveyors of viscose from bamboo apparel who state that their apparel is certified, when what they actually mean is that the viscose from bamboo is certified. If companies selling viscose from bamboo apparel have additional certifications past the viscose stage they would have the documentation for those certifications.
Because of the processing, should viscose from organic bamboo still be considered "green"?
The production of viscose from bamboo can and should be improved. R&D is underway to improve the process. Hopefully, a process similar to lycocel using organic solvents will someday be the standard for bamboo production. In the meantime, to discount all of the known positives of bamboo because it is not the darkest shade of green or 100% eco-friendly would be as bad of a decision as saying that organic cotton is not green or eco-friendly because of the amount of water used to grow it or because caustic soda is used in the viscose from organic bamboo.
Some facts to consider about the greenness of green bamboo would be:
Bamboo is grown without pesticides or chemical fertilizers.
Bamboo requires no irrigation.
Bamboo rarely needs replanting.
Bamboogrows rapidly and can be harvested in 3-5 years.
Bamboo produces 35% more oxygen that an equivalent stand of trees.
Bamboo is a critical element in the balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
Bamboo is an excellent soil erosion inhibitor.
Additionally, viscose from organic bamboo fabric is thermal regulating, wicks moisture better than polyester performance fabrics, will not hold odor, is resistant to mold and mildew, and is absorbent and fast drying keeping you dryer and more comfortable than any cotton or polyester fabrics.
Why do some viscose from bamboo fabrics not always feel as soft as other viscose from bamboo fabrics?
The first possibility would be that the viscose from organic bamboo used in bamboo processing in bamboo clothing is the mechanically produced variety, which does not produce a soft fabric, as opposed to the chemically produced type, which produces a very soft fabric.
In addition, even if the viscose from bamboo was of the chemically produced variety, other factors can dramatically impact the softness of the finished fabric, as they can with any viscose. The type of yarn, open end or ring spun is a major contributing factor to how a fabric feels. Ring spinning causes the fibers to lay down in a parallel fashion, where open end yarns tend to have more fibers that have exposed ends, making that yarn less soft to the touch than ring spun.
Finally, during wet processing (the scouring/bleaching/dyeing and finishing process) many variables exist. Some of those could certainly result in a change in the hand on the fabric. A ph level that is too high, temperatures exceeding the limits of the viscose from bamboo, any surface applications such as anti-curling agents, flame retardants, softeners, etc.; any of these could impact the look and the feel of the finished fabric.
Is bamboo organically grown?
Yes, our viscose from organic bamboo is Certified Organic and you can see our certifications and read about them here on our website. The farm where the bamboo is grown is certified by the OCIA and the bamboo crops are certified by the USDA organic seal.