We like our bamboo toothbrushes, however the growth in popularity of bamboo is placing huge demands on its cultivation. Chemical fertilizers are sometimes being used to accelerate growth and vast areas of land in China are being cleared to cultivate bamboo. This needs proper regulation to avoid a situation (as with palm oil) where profit becomes the sole pursuit and sustainable production and maintaining biodiversity take a back seat. There are also two methods of extracting fabric from bamboo to be aware of- one mechanical (crushing the plant) and one chemical.
Don’t be bamboozled – bamboo is still a great deal more sustainable than many commercially available fabrics but when buying bamboo products make sure to look into the growing and processing methods. Look for FSC-certified bamboo from well-managed forests, or bamboo certified by international Organic Certification bodies and don’t forget to check if ethical labor was transparent.