Sustainably Chic

Bamboo | A Sustainable Switch

LifestyleNatalie Kay

for everyday use...

Like all materials, bamboo suffers through its fair share of scrutiny. However, when it comes to your toothbrush, kitchen gadgets and clothing, bamboo can be a wonderful alternative {if done properly, of course}.  Bamboo is a great resource that needs little to no pesticides to grow, less water than cotton, is extremely strong and quite versatile. Unfortunately, with the rise in popularity for bamboo floors and other products, businesses have taken advantage of this fast growing grass & deforestation has become prevalent in China {Pandas need a home!!}. It's important to know where your bamboo is coming from because it can be sustainably farmed, and can be turned into fiber and other materials in a responsible manner. Through my sustainable journey, I've noticed anything positive can be quickly taken advantage of. As a conscious consumer, you are constantly learning and trying to find that perfect balance. To make things a little easier for you, I've compiled a little list of daily use items I find to have a lesser carbon footprint than their counter parts.

I'm going to start with fabric for clothing and soft goods {& keep it light because I'm not a scientist}. There are two prevalent {I say prevalent because the mechanical way of creating bamboo fabric - aka bamboo linen - is seen very little} types of bamboo fibres - Viscose & Lyocell - both have very different production methods. Viscose is more destructive and harmful with its use of 13 toxic chemicals, while lyocell's closed loop system recycles and reuses organic solvents and water to decrease consumption. The obvious answer to a more eco-friendly world of bamboo clothing is lyocell or bamboo linen {if you can find it}. The majority of brands, today, use viscose bamboo - & they aren't terrible for doing so. I think it is a question of resources and cost {which is a big part of sustainability, as well}. It is still a step in the right direction. As a maker, you hear such positive remarks on bamboo making you easily drawn to choosing the fabric. Words like 'biodegradable' or 'antibacterial' are very appealing, but in order to experience those wonderful qualities sometimes damage is done along the way. Bamboo is still a better material than most, but it is important to not skip out on the rest of the process. Like I said before, this is all a learning experience for me & I'm always gathering new information. I still support ethical brands who use viscose bamboo. I understand how difficult  {& sometimes expensive} it is to deal & find the perfect textile manufacturers. If you have some brands you know of who are using bamboo lyocell fabric, I'd love to hear it & pick their brain on how they came about the textile. An Australian based company, Ettitude is one of the first 100% bamboo lyocell bedding brands. Their selection looks like a dream, and they are definitely on my list for when I'm in the market for new sheets.

Let's move on to the kitchen.. and a little less intense approach to creating bamboo goods. One of my favorite brands, Natural Home Products, is helping us aim towards a greener & healthier kitchen. With bamboo being less porous than wood, there is less room for bacteria making your kitchen utensils appear cleaner for a longer period of time. Bamboo kitchen utensils don't absorb moisture or odor, and are built to last. Also, bamboo is a great alternative when cooking because it does not scratch non-stick cookware like wood, metal or plastic utensils do. MOBOO® {the grey utensils pictured above} is a molded bamboo & an all natural-alternative to plastic. Not made with PVC, this bamboo is produced with rice starch and an all-natural plant-based binder. They are just as strong as plastic, odor resistant, and dishwasher safe. 

In other bamboo fashion related news, One Happy Leaf is making the sweetest jewelry and accessories using this lovely renewable resource. More to come on the blog in the next few weeks :) Stay tuned!

The last everyday essential I'm going to touch on is the toothbrush. This is probably the easiest sustainable switch you can make since you are probably due for a new toothbrush pretty soon anyway. Mable is creating sustainable smiles one bamboo toothbrush at a time. We throw out over 50 million pounds of toothbrushes in America every year, and they will sit there for hundreds. Help combat the problem and sign up for the Mable Club - they keep track of when you need a new toothbrush and you save money. I love my Mable - it is self-standing and after three months, I can compost it and move on to the next. Easy peasy & happy sustainable smiles over here :D


Your turn..

What are your favorites in bamboo products?