If you’re into the eco-friendly concept at all, then you have probably heard of, or bought something made of organic bamboo fabric. Bamboo is an abundant, renewable, cheap and well, great, source for textiles and many other applications. I love bamboo. It is one beautiful plant.
And who doesn’t want the word “organic” stamped on their purchase somewhere? I know I do.
But did you ever wonder where that wonderful organic bamboo fabric comes from, hmmm? I’ll give you three seconds to think about it.
The answer is CHINA! Gee who woulda thunk it? Not only is China the sole supplier of organic bamboo textiles for the world, but the reason for this monopoly is because they slapped a patent on the process. So now no one else (ie. more earth-friendly and trust worthy) could take advantage of this miraculous resource. *sigh*
I learned this info quite by accident when I emailed a company featured on another Made in the USA web site. The online retail store which specialized in USA made products offered organic clothing for babies and kids. The company is called Shirts of Bamboo.
I went on the site to snoop around. I followed up with an email to their customer service department asking them where their fabric was manufactured. Here is my email and their response.
From: Maxine Columbia [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Thursday, February 07, 2008 3:07 PM
To: Shirts Of Bamboo Customer Service
Subject: Contact from Shirts Of Bamboo: Other: Country/state of origin
Other: Country/state of origin
Where do your fabrics come from? What state or country? I need to know this information before I can purchase any goods from you.
RE: Contact from Shirts Of Bamboo: Other: Country/state of origin
Thu, Feb 7, 2008 at 3:23 PM
To: Maxine Columbia
Currently China holds the patent on bamboo textile manufacturing .That fabric is then imported and sent to our manufacturers in the U.S. The
manufacturing is done in non-sweat shop environment.
Please contact me if you have any other questions.
Thank you for your interest in bamboo the eco-friendly fiber.
Heather C. Brodesser
So, if you are seeking organic bamboo fabric grown in the US or other (safer) countries than China, you are wasting your time.
On the other hand, you can find safe, 100% made in USA,
Last fall I bought some organic cotton t-shirts and baby items from SOS and was very happy with my purchase. I’m hoping they will expand their selection soon.
Another certified organic cotton company is Earth Wear out of Tennessee. I haven’t bought anything from them, but I plan to.
Other Links of Interest:
Texas Organic Cotton Marketing Cooperative
Though I have been offering ideas and information about buying American made clothing in this blog, I have a final thought and a heartfelt plea I want to make. Before you run out and buy any new clothes, please stop and read this article by Stan Cox of Alternet.org entitled “Dress for Excess: The Cost of Our Clothing Addiction.” It is an eye-opening and important article about how American clothing gluttony is harming our environment. This article really shook me up and made me think. After reading it I made a promise to myself:
Remember love your country but most of all, love your planet.