Bamboo is rapidly renewable and requires few pesticides to grow. However, bamboo fabric manufacturing is a chemically intensive process that doesn’t provide clear and legitimate product labeling. Misleadingly using the terms eco-friendly and green becomes greenwashing when applied to items such as bamboo clothing.
As the Fair Trade Commission describes the overall process, “Most bamboo textile products, if not all, are actually rayon, which typically is made using environmentally toxic chemicals. While different plants, including bamboo, can be used as a source material to create rayon, there’s no trace of the original plant in the finished rayon product.”
This example points out the public vigilance required to secure more sustainable, environmentally friendly products. Third-party verification of all claims is recommended. Products made of the bamboo stalk itself, such as poles for furniture or planks for flooring, remain true to their naturally sustainable source.