One of the best ways to boost your productivity and improve your finances is by using sustainable materials.
You can not only create long-term strategies, but also enjoy better health, reduce the amount of waste you deal with, reduce noise around you, use better and longer materials, and support better working conditions.
But to get started, you need to find the right sustainable materials.
Estimated valued from $9 to 12 trillion by 2030, this industry is rapidly growing and changing.
In this post, we’ll review in detail two of the most popular sustainable materials on the market today: organic cotton vs bamboo fabric.
Organic cotton is a natural fiber grown without using any pesticides or fertilizers. According to evidence, it originated in India and Pakistan in 6000 BC.
By the 1st century, Arab traders brought cotton products to European countries and organic cotton was later introduced during late medieval times. By the end of the 16th century, organic cotton was harvested throughout Asia and America and spread to Egypt, Mesopotamia and Nubia. In the 18th century, it was introduced to Africa and then spread to China, India and Pakistan, traditional varieties were then replaced with their own methods.
Bamboo fabric, or bamboo fiber, is a material made from the bamboo stems that was invented in China centuries ago. Besides for the construction of paper, bamboo was also used for many things, including houses, weapons, needles and many products we use wood to make today.
In the 19th century, patents were issued, including for the forerunner of modern bamboo yarn by mixing bamboo fabric with wool. Then the first modern bamboo cloth-making happened at Beijing University in the early 2000s and rapidly expanded the market for bamboo cloth.
According to Eco Watch, more than 25% of the world’s pesticides are used in conventional cotton production. Compared to regular cotton, the production of organic cotton follows strict regulations. This includes growing crops with natural pesticides causing less environmental harm, using beneficial insects to manage pests, and having a farming system that conserves natural water from the rain.
However, organic cotton is more expensive to produce in the marketplace as it does not only use organically grown crops, but also non-GMO seeds to grow. Farming practices are also more labor intensive by not using herbicides and pesticides.
For bamboo fabrics, there are two main manufacturing methods: chemical process and mechanical process.
The most common way to chemically create bamboo fabric is the viscose process, which is cheap to produce, but at the same time brings environmental downsides.
When bamboo fabric is made with the mechanical method, the textile is also called bamboo linen as the resulting fabric has a similar feel to linen. Throughout this method, the material is also strong, long-lasting, and not environmentally harmful. However a small part of bamboo material is produced this way since it’s labor intensive and expensive.
Organic cotton is more expensive than conventional cotton, however it is a much more durable fabric that lasts many years without being exposed to weakening chemicals. Additionally, organic cotton fibers are stronger and softer as they are not broken down by chemical processing. The completely natural fibers are healthy and comfortable to the touch as chemicals are not in contact with our skin.
A main advantage of bamboo fiber is that the growing plant is one of the fastests in the planet, bringing low price manufacturing. Although the mechanical process of bamboo tends to be more expensive as it requires several steps, the whole material is of a high standard.
Bamboo-made products are ultra-soft, breathable, highly absorbent, powerful insulating, moisture wicking, anti-bacterial, prevent wrinkles and offer UV protection.
There is no clear answer as to which material is better. Both bamboo fabric and organic cotton have their own unique benefits and drawbacks. Bamboo appears to have similar benefits to cotton yet fewer ethical issues. As Yvette Hymann, publisher in Good On You, said: “bamboo fabric has potential—it is much less costly to produce than cotton, avoids the extensive use of pesticides in non-organic cotton production”. However, shoppers may have noticed that bamboo products are not as widely available as cotton.
An advice would be to do your research for brands that not only focus on renewable or natural fabrics, but have taken time to understand how their products have been really sourced.