Bamboo: Not as Green as It Seems

A government agency has criticized four clothing companies for advertising bamboo as “green.”

By Emily Main

|||||

Here are a few tips if you’re looking to go green with your wardrobe:

•  Be thrifty
As in thrift store. The greenest clothes come preworn. Reused clothing stays out of the landfill and saves the fossil fuels used to make, package, and transport a new garment. So visit the used-clothing or vintage clothes store nearest you before hitting the mall.

•  Favor plant fibers
Organic cotton is still relatively water-intensive, but its production doesn’t result in a load of chemicals being dumped into the soil. And you can find green clothes made from other less-thirsty plants, such as flax (which is used to make linen) and hemp.

•  Save the bamboo for flooring
Bamboo’s environmental downsides come primarily from the processing of its pulp into fiber for use in clothing, bedsheets, towels, and other fabric products. However, it’s still a better choice than most wood used in things like hardwood flooring, cutting boards, and furniture.

•  Recycle your old clothes
The FTC accused bamboo specifically of not biodegrading in landfills, but in reality, no clothing will degrade in a landfill, whether it's made from cotton, bamboo, or any other fiber. When your clothes have worn thin, send them to a charity. You may not think your holey white T-shirt is worth anything, but the charity can sell it to a textile recycler, which will turn it into rags or even acoustic stuffing for your car doors. Just make sure your donated clothing is clean; a single pair of dirty underwear can contaminate an entire bin of recyclable clothing, condemning the clothes to a landfill.

Page:
ADVERTISEMENT