Today is the third installment in our series looking at the fabrics commonly used in cloth diapering. You can see other posts in this series by clicking here. Bamboo is one of the most popular fabrics for cloth diapers and definitely one of the most chic. It's luxuriously soft, eco-friendly, and very absorbent. In fact, tests have shown that rayon from bamboo absorbs moisture on contact 70% more quickly than cotton and dries 20% faster. And for softness, it's known for mimicking silk, cashmere, or french terry fleece. It's also with good reason that bamboo has such an eco-friendly rap: Bamboo retains water, thus requiring very little irrigation. It puts down deep roots, thereby supporting riverbanks and hillsides and avoiding erosion. It is naturally anti-microbial, thus needing no pesticides or fertilizers. It absorbs five times more carbon dioxide and releases 35% more oxygen into the environment than a stand of trees covering the same acreage. It's a very sustainable crop, as it doesn't need replanting for years at a time and it grows very quickly. Once a mother clump of bamboo has taken root - generally about three years - it only takes one growing season of 3-4 months for the shoots to be ready for harvest. In fact, if the growing conditions are just right, bamboo can even grow more than a metre in one day! When it comes to making bamboo into a textile, there's a vast difference between conventional and sustainable practices, however. The fibres in a bamboo stalk are very short and cannot be knit directly into a yarn as with most other textiles, so they must be softened, pulped, and stretched like taffy to create the fibres. In the conventional process of turning bamboo cellulose into the silky-soft rayon we know and love, several caustic chemicals are used to soften and break down the fibres, which has a severe environmental impact and destroys the antimicrobial properties of the bamboo itself. However, sustainable companies, such as the ones whose products we carry here at New & Green, are committed to creating their rayon in environmentally responsible ways. For example, Tots Bots, the makers of the Stretch Bamboozle and the Easy Fit, make sure their processing is done within the strict international environmental standards of ISO 9000 & 14000. The finished product also falls under the coveted European Oeko-Tex standard. And as an added bonus, viscose rayon made from bamboo is more biodegradable than other similar fabrics, including organic cotton. In the end, organic, sustainably produced bamboo diapers are one of the best choices you can make. Make sure you check out the Bamboozle, the Easy Fit, the BabyKicks 3G, and the AMP bamboo flats!
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