Check out this article from Green Earth News…
Before clothing reaches your closet, there is a lifespan to that material that began from the ground up. The planting process itself has just as much an effect on the environment as the manufacturing process. And beyond the latest styles, there is a larger trend evolving in the world of fashion. Consumers are choosing more environmentally conscious fabrics at a growing rate and bringing about a new awareness to their wardrobe.
Bamboo is a eco-conscious fabric choice that starts with its growing process.
What makes a crop environmentally friendly to grow?
Renewability of product: Even before the processing, weaving and manufacturing, the planting itself makes an impact on Mother Earth. Fibers that are grown should be able to be replenished in a relatively short amount of time. Cotton, for example, is a very greedy crop to grow – it sucks most nutrients from the soil and growing enough cotton for one t-shirt uses 257 gallons of water.
Ecological Footprint – Just as we have a carbon footprint, crops leave a footprint of their own. A growing concern is how much land it takes or destroys to bring one plant to full growth and support it. Once again, let’s pick on cotton. Because the crop must be rotated to let the soil replenish, it takes up 74% of the world’s arable land. Another popular fabric choice is rayon which is derived from the eucalyptus trees. But harvesting this wood-pulp product is leading to mass deforestation in East Asian countries. Bamboo requires much less acreage to grow the same amount of plants because it can be harvested at the stalk and will regenerate quickly. An added bonus is that as it grows, it gives back to the environment by taking in carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen into the air.
Chemical Use – Farmers using conventional cotton practices uses a multitude of chemicals. Before cotton is planted, the soil is prepared by applying fertilizers and herbicides. Throughout the growing season, there are additional applications of insecticides, herbicides and growth regulators. At the end of the growing season, a defoliant is applied to prepare the plant for harvest. Essentially, it requires almost the entire weight of a cotton t-shirt in fertilizers and pesticides to grow the cotton for it. Of the most commonly used pesticides, seven of them are suspected or known to be carcinogens. Not only does this translate into chemical-laden clothing, but imagine the run-off into groundwater from all of these chemicals.
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