Posts tagged ‘Pesticides’

The Flax Man

Be sure to check out our coverage in this month’s issue of Portland Monthly.

FLAX CLOTH might evoke visions of a hand-made Saturday Market tunic. But Ken Barker, former head of Adidas’ Portland-based apparel division, sees a large-scale opportunity in the flax-based textile fibers created by Naturally Advanced Technologies (NAT): a chance to save the world from cotton.

“Cotton is just about the most destructive crop on earth,” the 55-year-old, South Africa–born Barker says. “At Adidas, we looked at every sustainable fiber you can think of. Coconut. Banana. Seaweed. I thought, ‘This is the Holy Grail.’”

Click here to get the full story.

04/07/2011 at 7:20 am 2 comments

The Buzz on Bamboo

BambooDue to its luxurious softness, smooth hand, flowing drape and easy price – bamboo has gained entry into the apparel and fashion industry.  It’s being touted as the latest and hottest sustainable eco fabric but some are starting to question this.

There’s no denying that bamboo is wonderfully beneficial for the planet.  It does not require the use of chemical pesticides,  requires very little water to grown and it does not require replanting after harvesting because its vast root network continually sprouts new shoots.  It’s not until we begin to look at the manufacturing processes that the “eco friendly” luster is tarnished due to the use of heavy chemicals, many of which are toxic.

Bamboo is pulped using traditional kraft pulping technology which is notoriously toxic.  The bamboo fibre is ground up and treated with chemicals that turn it into a liquid pulp.  The liquid is then pressed through a spinneret. The extruded streams of liquid harden into fibers that are then woven together to make bamboo fabric.  Rendering bamboo from a plant to a yarn involves a chemical process – the same process that is being used for conventional rayon and viscose which are a ‘regenerated cellulose fiber’s made by man.  This process is highly polluting and involves carbon disulfide emissions.  Breathing low levels of carbon disulfide can cause tiredness, headache and nerve damage and it has been linked to neural disorders in workers at rayon manufacturing facilities.

The Federal Trade Commission recently sued four small bamboo-clothing manufacturers earlier this year, citing them for false labeling.  The companies had used language such as “natural,” “biodegradable,” and “antimicrobial.”  The FTC said, “Bamboo fabric isn’t natural since it’s a textile developed by chemists.”  The agency also stated that the biodegradable and antimicrobial qualities of the plant don’t survive the manufacturing process.  The FTC released the following article based on their findings – “Have You Been Bamboozled by Bamboo Fabrics?”.

CRAILAR Advanced Materials provides an alternative to the pollution caused by traditional cellulose pulping for the textile market.   The CRAILAR pulping process is a much gentler process when compared to Kraft pulping and produces a pure cellulose with properties that exceed those of the best pulps on the market.  The processing chemicals used, while not certified organic, are almost completely recycled.  In fact, over 95% of the chemicals we use are recycled and reused while the balance is consumed during the process.  Unlike many of the so-called eco fibers (bamboo and soy for example) which rely on dirty technology to process them, our patented CRAILAR Advanced Materials process is not only gentle on the fibre itself, but is also a much cleaner and sustainable approach to regenerated cellulose yarn.

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20/11/2009 at 8:00 am Leave a comment

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