Bamboo and the Environment

Don't get bamboozled by bamboo

Let's Learn About Bamboo!

There are two ways to convert bamboo into fabric: mechanical and chemical. Most bamboo is made chemically, so chances are your sheets, pillowcases, and T-shirts are chemically-derived. Viscose is the name of the process used to chemically transform bamboo into fiber.

This is (Chemically) Intense

The bamboo is broken down into tiny chunks and soaked in sodium hydroxide and carbon disulfide to remove the cellulose.

The CDC classifies carbon disulfide as "a highly flammable neurotoxin" and workers exposed to it are more prone to psychosis, heart attacks, and liver damage. Sounds fun!

What a Waste

Overall, the bamboo viscose process can use more than 13 toxic chemicals, as well as tons of energy and water. This is further compounded by the use of toxic dyes, anti-pilling, and finishing chemicals that are often used to give bamboo a soft, silky feel. The waste from this process––which can be as much as 50% of the solvents used––can seep back into the soil and water, causing significant environmental damage.

OEKO oh no

The International Association for Research and Testing in the Field of Textile and Leather Ecology, or (mercifully) OEKO-TEX for short, ensures that all textiles and leather are safe for humans and the environment. There’s one small catch, though. OEKO-TEX only refers to the end product, meaning the fabric. They don’t certify the process, which is where the environmental damage is often done.

What's the opposite of "transparent"?

The biggest exporter of bamboo fabric is China. Sure, it’s cheaper to make things there, but that savings comes at a cost, thanks in part to China’s lax––or non-existent––environmental and human rights standards.

This raises a lot of questions. Is the bamboo grown on arable land? Is wastewater managed properly? Are workers paid fairly and treated well?

There’s little to no oversight or transparency at these factories, so we may never know.

The Eucalyptus Difference

Five nice things about the S&G way

Closed-Loop Process

S&G uses a closed-loop process which means nearly 100% of the water and solvents used are recovered and reused again. This results in better water management and nearly zero waste. Nice.

Safer Chemicals

The solvent used in the lyocell process is called N-methylmorpholine N-oxide, or NMMO, which is generally considered less harmful to the environment and factory workers than the solvents used to dissolve bamboo wood. Nice.

No Wastewater

We also collaborate with Roadmap to Zero (ZDHC.org) to ensure there is zero wastewater runoff at the plant, and our farms are managed with the highest regard for the surrounding environment. Nice.

Responsibly-Managed Forests

S&G’s Eucalyptus trees are grown on non-arable land in India, which means that there was no farmland sacrificed in order to plant the trees. Our farms are biodiverse and managed under the eye of an NGO called Canopy, which works with companies to protect natural forests and environments. Nice.

Taking Care of Our Employees

As for our manufacturing workers, they’re full-time employees who work 8-hour shifts. They get paid above-average wages, they get free healthcare and education provided by our manufacturing partner, and they also get free housing close to work. Nice.

Better for the planet, Better for you

So if you're looking for a sustainable fabric that's just as buttery soft and breathable as bamboo, without all the yucky parts, Eucalyptus is the sheet.
Shop Eucalyptus Sheets