Sustainability spotlight: Bamboo charcoal

Have you used bamboo linen yet? I give bamboo charcoal a road test.

I shared my experience using bamboo bedding last year, as part of my journey to gradually phase out synthetic fabrics from my life.

I recently needed some new hand towels, so after I donated the worn ones to a local animal shelter (they were so grateful - really, I highly recommend it!) I decided to try a fabric I hadn’t yet: bamboo charcoal.

I was drawn to bamboo charcoal for a few reasons:
  1. It inhibits the growth of bacteria, meaning the towels don’t smell from regular hand-drying.
  2. It’s moisture wicking – important ‘cos, um, they’re towels!
  3. Bamboo charcoal does not need to be dyed – the charcoal component naturally makes them their rich grey colour. This impressed me!
  4. It's is a natural fibre, meaning it won't stick around for hundreds of years at the end of its life.

It’s a variation on bamboo as it literally combines burnt bamboo – the charcoal powder – with the bamboo fibres.

Bamboo fibre is touted as a sustainable choice due to the bamboo plant’s rapid growth and minimal thirst for water (compared to cotton anyway). I've read that the most resource-friendly way to make bamboo fabric is in a closed-loop system, meaning an organic solvent and the water it takes are both reused.

There have been some contradictions around just how sustainable bamboo really is – and this is where it comes down to individual companies and variations in the process (think chemicals used, whether they are recycled or not, and what other fibres they are blended with).

As with everything, it can take a little research. 

Make sure the brand you’re buying from can tell you about the process, how their fabric specifically is made, and the conditions their products are made in.

I got my Bambusa bamboo charcoal hand towels from Australian company Yo Home, who can tell you all about the making process – transparency is where it's at.

Next time you need new linen consider giving it a go and let me know what you think.

-  Ash

P.s. This is not a sponsored post - I just wanted to share my experience!


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