General Textile Screen Printing

Dissecting the Plant at Bamboo U

Bamboo is a plant of all trades, it can be eaten, used for building sturdy structures and furniture, beaten to a pulp for paper and even woven into an incredibly soft wearable fiber. In recent years, we have seen an influx of brands and various versions of bamboo fabrics available on the market in every form from kitchen scrubbies to high-count bed sheets to high-performance and luxury clothing.

It has been steadily gaining popularity as the world becomes more environmentally conscious and turns its focus towards sustainable clothing, living and farming. Here, we explore the benefits of the fiber, how it is created, and how it easily fits into the Printwear closet.

From the ground up

Bamboo is the fastest growing plant on earth," says Ash City's Debbie Wareham, who also notes that it is botanically categorized as a grass, though there is some debate on whether or not it is actually a noxious weed. Pushing out any botanical traitors, i.e. anything not of the bamboo variety, it easily repopulates itself, creating dense forests along riverbanks and marshy areas. Professor Ian Hardin of the University of Georgia's Textile department adds that the plant can be found naturally in tropical to mild temperate regions of Asia and the islands of the Indian and Pacific oceans. Reaching maturity quickly, it can be harvested about every four years, according to Wareham, as opposed to cotton's annual harvesting schedule.

But, even with a longer period between harvests, bamboo's crops boast several advantages. The first, as Wareham explains, is that it is naturally-regenerating and does not require reseeding or soil cultivation. Sandra Marquardt, On the Mark, a public relations firm that specializes in organic and sustainable companies, and spokesperson for the Organic Trade Association, adds that it is also a low-to-no pesticide and fertilizer crop, while maintaining relative pest resistance. With what Hardin estimates as some 1,000 species of bamboo found worldwide, ranging in size from about 4" to 130 ft., it seems there are plenty of shirts to be made.

To learn more about bamboo, read the full article at Printwear Magazine

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