It’s Bamboo, right… sustainable and green as a gourd. True, unless of course you soak your gourds in carbon disulfide, sodium hydroxide and bleach.
The rush to crush disposable packaging has allowed what seemed to be a green solution actually become more greenwashing. That’s also what the Federal Trade Commission thinks and they have a bit more influence than we do.
Bamboo cloth is Rayon in disguise
Bamboo is a very fast-growing, sturdy and sustainable tropical forest product. It actually grows in Tennessee and in many of the southern states but not to the degree it does in Asia. It makes great furniture and hardwood floors, but is it a good green material for clothing and reusable bags?
Bamboo can supply cellulose through a process of pulping, processing, extruding, bleaching and dying that ultimately makes a fine silk-like thread also known as Viscose in Europe and Rayon in America. It was originally developed as a substitute for silk. Many similar products are also made from plant cellulose, such as Satin Acetate for ribbons. So what started out as Bamboo is actually now “Rayon”, and not the same material anymore because of the severity of the processing required to produce it.
Rayon is a man-made fiber created from the cellulose found in plants and trees and dissolved with a harsh chemical that releases hazardous air pollution. Any plant or tree could be used as a cellulose source – including bamboo – but the fiber that is created is rayon. Federal Trade Comission August, 2009
If you sell clothing, linens, or other textile products, you’re responsible for making truthful disclosures about the fiber content. If your product isn’t made directly of bamboo fiber – but is a manufactured fiber for which bamboo was the plant source – it should be labeled and advertised using the proper generic name for the fiber, such as rayon, or “rayon made from bamboo.”
It is biodegradable?
In a recent action the FTC busted claims of biodegradable bamboo cloth products because the claims are unqualified. The Commission charged that rayon products are not biodegradable because they will not break down in a reasonably short time after customary disposal. Most clothing and textiles are disposed of either by recycling or in a landfill, where such biodegradation does not occur.
So is Rayon from Bamboo a “green” product? It may as well be made from any plant cellulose source; and in our judgment, if you apply the three-part model of sustainability which includes environmental, social and economical factors, it fails the test. It is not produced in an environmentally friendly manner, it is expensive, and on the social platform it is blatantly misleading.
Honestly, we all mean well. Even Nashville Wraps initially thought this to be a green product, but when we did the homework, we found out differently.