Monday, October 18, 2010

Start "greening" my wardrobe (Day 73)

Another area of my life that needs a major overhaul is my choice of clothing.  I'm very eco-friendly, in that I haven't really bought any new clothes in the past years.  However, the few items I have purchased were all purchased new, out of petroleum or fertilizer intensive materials.

I've decided to start with baby steps, as in all things, and work my way up to all "green" clothing choices.  I started this weekend by buying socks.  Now buying new socks isn't eco-friendly, but quite honestly, I shudder to think of buying someone else's used personal articles of clothing.  My new socks are not made of cotton.  They are made of rayon, derived 75% from bamboo.  I thought this was a terrific, eco-friendly choice, until I did a little research at home.

Bamboo should be a better source of fabric than regular cotton.  According to Treehugger, "Bamboo's eco-friendly positioning in the market has been centered on its properties as 1) a natural (that is, non synthetic) fiber, 2) a quick-growth plant (it's in the grass family) that sequesters greenhouse gases, and 3) a renewable plant that can grow back after its three to five year harvesting period. It largely doesn't need chemicals, pesticides, or fertilizers, but studies show that clearing land to grow it in monocultures can adversely affect the soil and habitat of an area." 

Therein lies the problem with bamboo.  It all depends on who is cultivating it, and ultimately, manufacturing it into clothing.   I think the company that made my socks are probably on the "not sustainable list" - there is no mention on their website of where or how they source their bamboo for their socks. 

However, I have to believe that my purchase must be slightly better for the environment than regular, pesticide and fertilizer intensive cotton.


  1. Don't hold your breath on finding green bamboo clothing in Canada. Not just yet. So far, all bamboo clothes sold in Canada go through intense chemical processes to become the soft garments we know. The process for manufacturing bamboo rayon (or viscose) requires lots of chemicals and solvents to extract the cellulose fibres; and then there are the dyes...
    Real green bamboo cloth would feel closer to linen, a little bit more stiff, more raw, and probably less wrinkle-proof, and therefore,less modern-consumer-friendly.
    So until we have access to real bamboo clothes, organic cotton, and hand-me-downs seem to be the greenest choices. And darning old socks!

  2. Sigh. I'm trying, really! :) I don't know how to darn socks - maybe I should learn.