Sustainability is a hot topic. But, with so many brands claiming to offer more environmentally friendly products, it can be difficult to know which of the materials offered to us are actually the most sustainable options, and more importantly, why.
Bamboo toothbrushes, utensils and razors are fantastic replacements for plastic, but what difference does bamboo fabric make to the environment? Bamboo is a great replacement for cotton, as the cotton industry involves one of the most damaging growth and production crop processes in the world. So what are some of the problems with cotton manufacturing?:
20,000 litres of water are required to produce 1kg of cotton
Cotton is one of the thirstiest crops in the world, and requires colossal amounts of water to grow even before the production process begins. The water consumed to grow India’s cotton exports in a year would be enough to supply 85% of the country’s 1.24 billion people with 100 litres of water every day for a year. Bamboo is a fantastic alternative as it’s naturally much lower maintenance and flourishes on a fraction of cotton’s water requirement. Amazingly, bamboo needs just 1/200 of the water cotton uses to grow and manufacture the same amount of fabric.
25% of the world’s pesticide and insecticide use comes from cotton farming
Cotton uses 2.5% of the world’s agricultural land, and yet is responsible for 6% of the world's pesticide and 16% of insecticide use. These pesticides leak into water systems and cause approximately 500 farmer deaths per day and an estimated 385 million non-fatal cases annually worldwide. Whereas, bamboo can grow up to 3ft a day, is naturally much more resilient than cotton and doesn’t require pesticides, insecticides or fertilisers to flourish. Not only does this mean that the people living near the crops are in significantly less danger, but it also means that the surrounding ecosystem of plants and wildlife is preserved and can exist uninterrupted.
Cotton requires 38 times more land than bamboo
One acre of land yields approximately 0.5 tons of cotton. Whereas, one acre of land can yield 12-18 tons of bamboo. Land use is under enormous pressure from a human perspective, in a rapidly expanding global population. However, the low-yield nature of cotton also means that vast areas of wildlife are being cleared and replaced with cotton plants as farmers try to produce more crops. As a consequence, animals’ habitats are destroyed and the ecosystem is unbalanced. If a cotton farmer changed their crops to bamboo, they would be able to generate 36 times the amount of crops from the same amount of land, without needing to expand their farmland.
Combating the negative effects of deforestation
As more of our forests are being cleared for crop-growth, we’re reducing the amount of oxygen being generated. However, we are also causing more pollution by manufacturing a higher number of products, so our need for a higher percentage of oxygen in the air is becoming more important than ever. Bamboo emits 30% more oxygen than equivalent crop forestry, so by switching to bamboo textiles, we can try to counteract the worsening air quality, as a result of mass-manufacturing, with its amazing oxygen-producing quality.
If you haven’t tried bamboo textiles before, you’ll find there are many other perks, alongside the environmental benefits, that will quickly make you a convert. SLOTH London offers a 30-day sleep test, and if you’re not happy, we’ll give you your money back. Pick your bedding bundle here.