Bamboo is a cellulose fiber, made from the pulp of the bamboo stem and is part of the bast family of fibers. In the same category are included hemp and flax. The fiber is sometimes blended with Tencel, cotton and other fibers.
To create the fiber, bamboo needs to be broken down using chemicals, and the liquid is then forced through a spinneret. The process is known as the viscose production process and is used also to produce rayon and soy fiber. There are two methods used to turn fiber into yarn. One of them is the same used to produce bamboo rayon or bamboo viscose, and the yarn is boiled in lye and soaked in carbon disulfide. The second method, more environmentally friendly, is used in Europe and implies crushing the bamboo fiber mechanically, after the woody part of the bamboo is broken down from the wals of the bamboo stalks. The obtained raw fiber is processed in environmentally-friendly enzymes, soaked in water and then washed.
Bamboo has many advantages over cotton as a raw material for textiles. It is the largest member of the grass family and the fastest growing woody plants in the world. Bamboo can have both economic and environmental advantages, as it can be used as food, fiber or shelter.
The bamboo species used for clothing is called Moso bamboo, the most important bamboo in China. It is the main species for bamboo timber and plays an important role for the ecological environment. The bamboo fiber is biodegradable in soil by micro organism and sunlight and clothing made from bamboo can be composed and disposed of in an organic and environmentally friendly manner.