It’s A Jungle Out There-An Abundance of Organic Bed Sheet Choices

You surf the internet browsing, in between zooms. Maybe thinking about purchasing new bedding and notice there are more and more organic bed sheet options.

And, if you are like many consumers that have experienced an awakening of consciousness as to the methods of producing your products, you may be in the market for sustainable items. Maybe some high-quality luxury bed sheets.  You have read up and are entertaining the idea of purchasing GOTS-certified organic sheets, maybe 100% organic cotton sheets.  Preferably ethically made and luxury quality bed sheets, since your bed has become a WFH outpost during non-zooms.

 

You may notice other options such as bamboo come up in a search for organic, eco-friendly bedding in addition to luxury organic cotton bed sheets and wonder, how the heck did the fiber of those plants end up being used to make bed sheets?

Bamboos’ backstory  

 Photo by zoo monkey on Unsplash

The word “bamboo” most likely came from the Dutch or Portuguese who most likely borrowed it from the Malay or the Kannada. There is speculation that the original Malayan word was “Bambu” which came from the sound bamboo makes when heated and the air in the hollowed inside expands and causes it to burst, producing a “bam-boom” sound. 

Bamboo is technically grass.  It is also native to all continents except Antarctica and Europe.  Bamboo is incredibly resilient; in fact, it was the only plant to survive the horrific bombing of Hiroshima in 1945 Japan.  All other trees and plant life were annihilated, save one grove of bamboo.  The grove has since been moved and placed in a Hiroshima museum. 

Turns out bamboo can also conduct electricity.  Thomas Edison, after figuring out the first light bulb, came up with an updated version that was very similar to what we use currently in that it had a glass bulb with an interior illuminating filament and screw base.  Edison had a tough time finding the right material for the filament, going through and experimenting with thousands of options before he landed on using bamboo.  He and his team found that if carbonized, bamboo could carry the electric current and would last more than 1200 hours.  Researchers continued to expand on his findings and ascertained that bamboo charcoal is a natural “nanotube” capable of conducting electricity.

 Photo by Robert Wiedmann on Unsplash

Bamboo is one of the fastest-growing plants on the planet, actually growing around 1 inch every 40 minutes.  Certain bamboo species are considered highly invasive, shooting out rooty parts of themselves that grow upwards, potentially negatively changing the environment.  On the plus side, the extensive root system can help prevent solid erosion and can improve the water-holding capacity of an area. It can be grown without pesticides and harvested in a relatively short time maturing in 3-5 years. Additionally, because it can amount to a large biomass above and below ground, bamboo can remove four times as much carbon as trees and generate up to 35% more oxygen.

Bamboo in commercial use

Throughout history, people have discovered multiple uses for bamboo, from a food and nutrient source to construction, utensils, weapons, furniture, paper, even creating bikes and cars from it.  The use of bamboo in textiles dates back to 1864 when Philipp Lichtenstadt patented an idea of a process for disintegrating bamboo fiber so it could be used for the making of among other things, cloth.  Even so, it’s only been fairly recently that bamboo textiles have made it into the common culture.

Bamboo seems like an all-around MVP, however when it comes to the actual fabric manufacturing process, there are concerns.  Bamboo in textiles uses regenerated fiber, which means it’s created by dissolving the cellulose of the plant with chemicals.  The resulting pulpy viscose mush is then pushed through a spinneret and spun into fibers that can then be made into threads and fabric. The chemicals used are mainly sodium hydroxide (caustic soda, aka lye ) and carbon disulfide. These are both harmful to peoples’ health, being linked to things like irritation of the eyes and skin, respiratory and neural disorders.  Sodium hydroxide can harm aquatic life should it get into the water supply. A lot of companies using bamboo fabrics say that because these chemicals are only used in a small portion of the process, the chance for significant harm is minimal. But consider the compounded effects-a factory producing tons of fabric a year can expose both the workers and the environment to these dangerous chemicals. It is worth noting that a very similar fabric  called lyocell (brand name Tencel ©) can capture and reuse 99% of the chemical solution using a closed-loop process.

 Photo by Rodolfo Clix from Pexels

Bamboo is increasing its value as a cash crop;  in China, where it is grown on a commercial scale, farmers are starting to grow it as a “mono-crop”-meaning, a crop grown year after year on the same land with no rotation.  This depletes the soil it is grown on, reduces biodiversity which can increase the need for pesticides.  There are some indicators that fertilizers are being used in these situations.  There are no set environmental guides for the growing of bamboo in China and the farmers want to get as big a crop as possible for their effort and money.  This has an environmental cost, unfortunately.  In some areas, natural forests are being cleared to grow more bamboo. Of course, that is not to imply that companies using bamboo fibers aren’t aware of this.  They are most likely doing their best to make sure the bamboo is grown naturally,  but still, it is difficult to control.

What about cotton fiber?

Cotton fiber use has been around close to forever.

Cotton fiber has been used at least since 3000 BC in the Americas and India. Bits of ancient cotton cloth has been found in both Pakistan and Peru.  Some speculate that cotton has been cultivated by humans for at least 7000 years.

 

Photo Courtesy of Gallant International

Cotton planted and farmed organically came into play in the 1980s as people made an effort to bolster sustainable, ecological and biodynamic agriculture.

Demand for organic cotton is continuously increasing as more and more brands with corporate social and environmental responsibility goals become more nemerous.  Roughly 1,101333 bales of organic cotton in 19 countries on 1,035,210 acres of land were grown by 22,134 farmers in 2018/2019.  That was the second-largest organic cotton harvest ever and a 31% increase from the previous year.  Additionally, 137,966 acres of land was converted to organic cotton growing to meet increasing demand.

In the US, organic cotton production increased 1.3% from 2017-2018.  Organic fiber continues to be the largest and fasted growing sector in the US non-food market.  Increasing consumer awareness of what we use and wear in our daily lives continue to drive this growth.

So, as you continue to search for options to upgrade your bedding and if you are interested in making a conscious purchase, consider both the pluses and minus of the fibers and methods used. For guidance, look for something GOTS certified.

The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) https://www.global-standard.org has a clearly defined set of criteria and is transparent.  Products with this certification adhere to a very strict standard that governs the entire post-harvest standard (spinning, weaving, dyeing, and manufacturing) of textile products made with organic fiber.

You also might want to make sure the products are Fair Trade Certified

To be Fair Trade certified, products must be made with the strictest environmental, social, and economic guidelines.  It means that products are produced in safe, sanitary environments by at-will employees being paid a fair and livable wage. Fair Trade is a global movement of producers, businesses, certifiers, and consumers who consider people and the planet first, working together to create products that benefit the people who made them and the land it came from, treating resources as finite.

Also, look for products produced by certified B Corporation

Being a certified B Corp means they are a part of a global business community that meets the highest standards of social, environmental, legal accountability, and transparency in business.  We are part of a business community that believes in being a force for good for their employees, environment, and community.

So, if you are in the market for GOTS-certified organic sheets, 100% organic cotton sheets, ethically made and luxury quality bed sheets, Terra Thread Homes’ high-quality luxury bed sheets are the answer.

Feel good inside. Sleep well.

 

Terra Thread Home

GOTS-certified organic sheets

Ethically made & luxury quality bed sheets


Source: https://goodonyou.eco/bamboo-fabric-sustainable/

Source: https://fairware.com/bamboozled-getting-the-facts-on-bamboo-textiles/

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2008/aug/13/bamboo.fabric

Source: https://oureverydaylife.com/the-history-of-bamboo-fabric-12333914.html

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bamboo

Source:  https://www.bambooimport.com/en/facts-about-bamboo

Source https://ioas.org/services/organic-textiles/textile-exchange/

Source: https://ota.com/advocacy/organic-standards/fiber-and-textiles/get-facts-about-organic-cotton

Source : http://factsanddetails.com/world/cat54/sub349/item1227.html

Source: https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/engineering/organic-cotton