Bamboo: You Want Me to Wipe With What?
Yes, I remember my first response when my mother found a bathrobe made of bamboo on the internet. "You've got to be kidding me... BAMBOO?" Just the word itself brought to mind that really stiff grass that is essentially hollow inside, but obviously rigid. I was trying to picture something like those bamboo screens wrapped …
Yes, I remember my first response when my mother found a bathrobe made of bamboo on the internet. "You've got to be kidding me... BAMBOO?" Just the word itself brought to mind that really stiff grass that is essentially hollow inside, but obviously rigid. I was trying to picture something like those bamboo screens wrapped around the body with sleeves attached and that simply can't be comfortable! From bathrobes, we found towels and bed sheets made of bamboo, and even clothes eventually. All the sites said bamboo is softer than cotton, with a very silky feel to it. Can that really be? But then I got really excited when I found a site for baby wipes and toilet paper out of bamboo. As a diaper family, we use wipes constantly and the prices for toilet paper have been going crazy! But still, bamboo? That just seems uncomfortable to think about! But wait, let's think about it like this: what is the toilet paper we've always used made out of? Trees. It doesn't seem that wiping with a tree would be any more comfortable than wiping with bamboo... in fact, imagining the bark of the tree makes that seem downright painful! But since its made from wood PULP, wipes and toilet paper are both much more comfortable for use. With bamboo, it is the same. They break the hard, woody stems down into fibers and pulp that can then be made into a softer, more comfortable material. Well, that sounds a lot better! bamboo toilet paper So let's take into account some environmental issues. Bamboo is a grass, and it grows just as fast (if not faster) than the stuff we have to mow every week. In fact, Asian countries have harvested bamboo for centuries because it is so abundant and it reproduces so very fast. It doesn't have to be replanted because it comes up from a root system that spreads out and sends up new shoots, just like every other type of grass. There are types that can be grown in almost every climate the world has to offer, from tropical to temperate. Here in Alabama, many people use bamboo as kind of a natural fence between yards and the biggest problem is that once it takes hold, it's hard to keep it from taking over! What seems to make sense is that if something is going to propagate and make a nuisance of itself, we should find a way to make it useful, right? Just because the Asian countries have been the leaders in growing and harvesting bamboo doesn't mean they have to be our only supply, either, so we don't have to worry so much about whether we are killing off pandas and destroying their habitat if we simply set up farms here to grow the bamboo ourselves. Our government pays people to grow certain crops like corn, cotton and soy, so they could add bamboo to that list and help lots of people while supplying our need for a sustainable resource. Also, since bamboo is a very hardy plant with naturally bug-repellent properties, it would take very little work to keep it growing. And speaking of those natural properties, when you make products out of bamboo, they take on some pretty fantastic properties too! They naturally resist mold and mildew because they dry very quickly, despite being very absorbent. They resist odors and bacteria for the same reason. They wick moisture away from the skin faster than cotton, which makes them perfect for use in baby products like diapers, and makes them more comfortable for people with sensitive skin issues. They do say that bamboo products will shrink a little if washed in hot water, but then I know from experience that cotton shrinks under those circumstances too; and if the fabric itself repels mold, mildew, bacteria and odors, I don't have to worry so much about washing it in hot water with bleach to get it clean, so that is no longer a problem. All in all, I want to change ALL of my family's textiles to bamboo fabrics! Unfortunately, between the limits in sizes (finding bamboo clothes for my 8 year old is very hard) and the prices for purchasing bamboo textiles, it will take a while before I can make the switch. But the technology is out there, and the products are available, so if we go ahead and buy what we can out of bamboo, maybe they can start lowering the prices and increasing production so this industry can take off. But let's all make a pact to try out at least one bamboo product this year so we can stimulate production! If everyone who reads this tries just one bamboo product, we can make a huge difference. And because I want to make the world a greener place, I understand that getting enough interest to bring the prices of these items down to a reasonable level is the first step. I'm telling everyone I know and you should too! If we can all just break down and spend a little extra to let the retail world know we want to go green, they can work to get prices down so everyone can do it easier!  

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