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    Bamboo fiber: A versatile and eco-conscious Textile choice

    Introduction:  Bamboo fiber is a regenerated cellulose fiber which is produce from bamboo. Bamboo plants are known for their rapid growth, making them one of the fastest-growing plants globally. As the textile industry has been dealing with some serious environmental issues. From water pollution to massive waste generation, it’s been quite a mess. Textile production is estimated to be responsible for about 20% of global clean water pollution from dyeing and finishing products.
    Also the fashion industry is estimated to be responsible for 10% of global carbon emissions, which, quite surprisingly, is higher than international flights and maritime shipping combined. A single laundry load of polyester clothes can discharge 700,000 microplastic fibers that could potentially end up in the food chain. In fabric production, it is important to select the right type of bamboo fabric, it’s important to learn more about the textile industry surrounding this plant. Depending on the type of fabric that is being made, bamboo textiles can be produced using a number of different methods. The majority of bamboo fabric produced worldwide is bamboo viscose , which is cheap to produce even though it has environmental downsides and represents workplace hazards.
    In all of this, bamboo fiber presents a sustainable and environmentally-friendly solution for the textile industry. Its rapid growth, minimal need for chemicals, and biodegradability make it an ideal choice to address environmental concerns in the sector.
    There are three main types of bamboo fabric that is;
    1. Bamboo viscose: This type of bamboo fabric is nearly identical to other types of viscose. The only reason why bamboo is used in the production of this fabric instead of another type of wood is reduced manufacturing costs; the benefits of this fiber are not present in its viscose form, and consumers should be wary of the conflating this type of textile with true mechanically-produced bamboo fabric.
    2.  Lyocell-type bamboo fabric: This type of fabric is similar to viscose, but it is made with a closed-loop production method. In addition, the chemical structure of the cellulose used to make this type of fabric is not altered in the production process, which means that it retains many of the beneficial qualities that are also noted in mechanically-produced bamboo fabric.
    3.  Mechanically-produced fine bamboo fiber: This type of fabric is the only option that can be considered to be true “bamboo fabric.” It is relatively expensive and time-consuming to produce, but it offers far greater benefits than the types of fabrics that are not produced via mechanical means. This type of bamboo fabric is very strong, durable, and soft.
    Bamboo fiber and their environment Benefits             
    Bamboo fiber is highly renewable, as it can be harvested after a few years without causing harm, and its extensive root system helps prevent soil erosion. It requires less water and fewer chemicals for cultivation compared to conventional crops like cotton. As certain type of bamboo can grow at up to 91 cm (35 in) per day. It sequesters large amounts of carbon dioxide, contributing positively to the environment.
    Moreover, bamboo’s natural pest resistance means that it necessitates fewer pesticides during cultivation, leading to a decrease in chemical pollution in soil and water bodies, safeguarding surrounding ecosystems.
    Bamboo fibers are biodegradable, in contrast to synthetic fibers like polyester. When appropriately disposed of, bamboo-based textiles break down naturally over time, lessening the burden of textile waste in landfills and marine environments.
    Production of bamboo into fiber:
    Bamboo can be transformed into fiber using either a mechanical or chemical process. In the mechanical method, harvested bamboo stalks undergo retting, crushing, combing, and hackling to extract the fibers, which are then spun into yarn and woven or knitted into textiles.
    The chemical process, more commonly used on a larger scale, involves dissolving bamboo cellulose in chemicals like sodium hydroxide, and extruding it into filaments, resulting in soft and silky fabrics.

    The Applications of Bamboo Fiber:
    Bamboo fabrics are made from pure bamboo fiber yarns which have excellent wet permeability, moisture vapor transmission property, soft hand, better drape, easy dying and splendid colors. It is a newly founded, great prospective green fabric.
    1.  Bamboo intimate apparels: It include sweaters, bath -suits, mats, blankets, towels have comfortable hand, special lustre and bright colours, good water absorbance. Bamboo fiber has a unique function of anti-bacteria, which is suitable to make underwear, tight t-shirt and socks. Its anti-ultraviolet nature is suitable to make summer clothing, especially for the protection of pregnant ladies and young children from damages of ultraviolet radiation.
    2.  Bamboo non-woven fabric: It is made by pure bamboo pulp, which has similar properties as viscose fibers have. However, bamboo has wide prospects in the field of hygiene materials such as sanitary napkin, masks, mattress, food packing bags due to its anti -bacteria nature.
    3.  Bamboo sanitary materials: It includes bandages, masks, surgical clothes, nurse swears and so on. The bamboo fiber has a natural effect of sterilization and bacteriostatic and therefore it has incomparably wide foreground on application in sanitary material such as sanitary towels, gauze mask, absorbent pads, and food packing and so on. In the medical scope, it can be processed into the products of bamboo fiber gauze, operating coat and nurse dresses etc. Because of the natural antibiosis function of the bamboo fiber the finished products need no adding of any artificial synthesized antimicrobial agent. Therefore, bamboo fiber products will not cause skin allergies and at the same time it has a competitive advantage in the market.
    4.  Bamboo bathroom series: It enjoys good moisture absorption, soft feel and splendid colors as well as anti-bacteria property which are very popular in home textiles. Bamboo towels and bath robes have a soft and comfortable hand feeling and excellent moisture absorption function. Its natural antibiosis function keeps bacterium away so that it will not produce bad odor.
    5.  Bamboo decorating series: It has the functions of antibiosis, bacteriostatic and ultraviolet-proof. They are very advantageous for utilization in the decorating industry. Along with the badly deterioration of atmosphere pollution and the destruction to the ozonosphere ultraviolet radiation rays are more and more becoming a problem for human beings. Long-time exposure to ultra violet radiation will cause skin cancer. Wallpapers and curtains made from bamboo fiber can absorb ultraviolet radiation in various wavelengths thus they lessen the harm to the human body. More important, bamboo decorating products will not go moldy due to damp. Curtains, television covers, wall papers and sofa slip covers can all be made from bamboo fibers.
    Advantages of bamboo fabric:
    1.  Bamboo is an ultra-soft fabric: Bamboo fabric is luxuriously soft. It feels like lightly floats in our skin. This is possible because of the smooth round structure of the bamboo fibre, which has no sharp or rough elements that could cause irritation.
    2.  Bamboo clothing is breathable: Bamboo fabric offers excellent ventilation because of the microscopic holes in the fibre. It keeps feeling fresh for longer that means you have to wash your cloth less. Ultimately, less washing helps clothes last longer, key to a sustainable wardrobe.
    3. Bamboo is good for hot weather: Bamboo fabric keep cool in hot weather because of it’s thermoregulatory properties. The breathable and moisture wicking nature of the material allows for ultimate comfort on hot days. So, the bamboo shirt keep cooler than a cotton alternative.
    4. Bamboo is anti-bacterial: Bamboo fabric is naturally antibacterial. It is also hypoallergenic. Many people who experience sensitivities to other fabrics can use bamboo without a problem.
    5. Bamboo fabric is moisture wicking: Bamboo fabric keeps your body comfortable. It helps to regulate your body temperature by pulling moisture away from your skin. When you are sweating bamboo will not cling to you the way other fabrics will. In warmer climates it helps you to keep cooler while sleeping.
    6. Bamboo offers UV protection: Bamboo fabric offers natural protection from the sun’s harmful rays, filtering up to 97.5% of UV radiation. 
    7. Bamboo fabric prevents wrinkles: An amazing fact about bamboo is that it does not wrinkle easily, even after frequent washing. This makes it perfect for those of us less keen on our iron, plus makes it more sustainable as we need to use less energy to maintain our bamboo clothes.
    Disadvantage of bamboo fabric:

    1.  Bamboo is invasive: The plant is invasive. When grown outside of its native habitat it can easily take over and outcompete native species
    2. Bamboo shrinkage: Bamboo tends to shrink more than all cotton fabrics; therefore, special laundering may be required.
    3.  Bamboo wrinkle: Bamboo fabric also wrinkles more than other fabrics. Depending on what the fabric is being used for, bamboo may not be the ideal choice.
    4.  Bamboo fabric is slow to dry: Bamboo fabric doesn’t dry as quickly as synthetic or cotton. It able to absorb 3 times its weight in water, meaning after you wash bamboo clothes or sheets it has more water to evaporate. It also loses some of its strength when wet, so make sure to follow care instructions on the label.
    5.  Bamboo is more expensive than cotton: Unfortunately, most bamboo costs more than cotton, especially if you are looking for sustainable bamboo rather than bamboo rayon.
    6.  Bamboo sustainability:  bamboo growing and harvesting is incredibly sustainable. As most of the bamboo cloth are made from bamboo rayon which requires a chemically intensive viscose process to produce. To make a eco-friendly bamboo cloth make sure to check the origin of that bamboo. most bamboo clothes are sadly the rayon alternative. 
    Prospective projects from bamboo fiber:
    1. Bamboo fiber is a sustainable textile product so the prospective project can focus on developing bamboo base fabrics for clothing, activewear, home textiles. It’s softness, durability and eco-friendliness make attractive choice for consumer and the research and development initiatives can explore innovative methods for processing bamboo fiber, enhancing quality and performance.
    2. As bamboo offer excellent sustainable solution, so it can be used for reducing the carbon footprint of the construction sector, especially in highly populated regions in the world where bamboo is available in abundance.
    3.  Insulating paper is the key material utilized in ultra-high voltage projects, and it affects the safe and stable operation of the whole power system. Cellulose fiber-based insulating paper, have the low price and environment friendly and bamboo can be potentially used as a new raw material for insulating paper to promoting the green development of the power and paper industry.
    4. By harnessing the versatility and eco-friendliness it is possible to make a greener and more sustainable future.
    5. Bamboo requires less water to grow than cotton and in addition bamboo is naturally resistant to pests and diseases, reducing the need for chemical pesticides and fertilizers. These factors make bamboo and eco-friendly choice for both farmer and consumers.
    Challenges and limitation that affecting the adoption of Bamboo fiber:
    The adoption of bamboo fiber in the textile industry faces various challenges and limitation that need to be addressed, such as:
    1. Land use competition, as the cultivation of bamboo fiber for production may conflict with other important land uses, such as food production or preserving natural habitats.
    2. Fiber quality consistence achieving can be challenging due to variation in bamboo species and environmental factors, which is crucial for maintaining product integrity and meeting industry standards.
    3. The chemical processing method used for most bamboo fibers can be environmentally and health-wise problematic if not properly managed.
    4. The competition with well-established fibers in the textile industry and potentially higher production costs can impact the final retail price of bamboo-based products, affecting their affordability for some consumers.
    5. Ensuring standardization and certification for sustainable bamboo fiber production remains a challenge, as the absence of consistent labeling schemes may create uncertainty for consumers seeking genuinely low-carbon products.
    Bamboo fibre has already gained popularity in textile market due its’ aesthetic property, fineness, flexibility, inherent antimicrobial property, UV resistant property. Moreover, it is an ecofriendly green textile material which would be future of 21th century for sustainable textile solution. Also, it presents a sustainable solution to reduce environment degradation with their rapid growth, low water footprint and biodegradability contribute a green future.
    Information Source:
    Writer’s Information:
    Department of Textile Engineering
    Green University of Bangladesh (GUB)
    Email: [email protected]



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