Bamboo plants are famously said to be lucky and auspicious according to principles of Feng Shui and Vastu Shastra. They make for amazing house warming gifts or act as a good luck charm for people starting a new journey. But what a lot of people don’t know is that this cute, indoor plant has also made its way graciously into the fabric textile industry.
Bamboo has quickly become one of the most eco-friendly and sustainable fibres in the world. Even in the case of agriculture, it does not require pesticides because it is actually a weed that grows naturally in many parts of the world. That’s what makes bamboo plants resistant to insects and diseases.
Bamboo fabric does not require the use of chemical antibacterial agents because they have an anti-bacterial property that is maintained in fabric. It is more anti-static than other types of fabric and also tends to perform better when it comes to odours as it contains a natural deodorising property.
With its cheap production cost and silk like quality, it is preferred by both manufacturers and consumers. There are two different approaches in the extraction and making of bamboo fibres. One is the mechanical process and the second one is the chemical process.
Bamboo fibre is made in four steps:
- Harvesting the Bamboo–
Bamboo fibre is made from Bamboo timber, which has matured in the forest for at least 4 years. When new shoots reach their full height, they are marked with a year code to make sure they are harvested at the right maturity.
After harvesting the bamboo, it is transported to nearby factories. From there, they are further chopped into smaller pieces. This is so that they can be easily loaded into a truck and sent off for the next process.
- Soaking the Bamboo-
The bamboo chips are then soaked into a solution made of chemicals to extract the cellulose from the chips. This breaks down the bamboo chips and converts it into a pulp. The bamboo pulp is essentially what is used in the making of fibre. During this process, colour dyes (if required), are added to the solution.
- Processing the Bamboo-
The bamboo breaks down even further after being soaked in the solution. But, because this leaves the chips wet and soggy, it makes it very difficult for transportation. So, the next step in the manufacturing process is is to drain and press the pulp, converting them into rough parchment-like sheets, which weigh much lighter than before and can be easily transported.
- Spinning the bamboo sheets into fibre–
Finally when the sheets are completely dried, they’re ground up and spun into bamboo fibre. Manufacturers use a process to separate and spin the fibre into threads. Afterwards they create a basic weaving yarn that’s referred to as Bamboo Viscose. Companies are becoming more and more creative with what products to make from bamboo viscose. Many products are made from bamboo today, including bamboo socks, shirts, pants and inner wear.
Bamboo fabric is twice as soft as cotton and can even last five times longer. The pulp extracted from bamboo would otherwise go to waste, so this is a win-win for agriculturists as well as us citizens, who are trying to save the environment. The process is cruelty-free and animal –friendly. The best thing about wearing bamboo is that it keeps the body cool and odourless since it is highly sweat absorbent. It is naturally UV protectant which means you can step out confidently even when the sun is shining bright!
So the next time you want to wish someone best of luck, or simply present them with an exciting gift for their home, you know exactly what to add into your shopping list below Bamboo succulents!
Visit http://thephoenixcompany.in/ for some gorgeous sarees handwoven with love and care out of organic fibres 🙂
By Naqiyah Hasan