I would like to address today the very important concerns we should have regarding bamboo processing and farming. There are a lot of great projects out there which are growing bamboo in sustainable ways but there are also some very real concerns about the ways some bamboo is being processed and grown. At Bamboo Sisters SUSTAINABLE and ethical processes are at the heart of our entire philosophy so I would like to first talk about the concerns and secondly share with you how we grow and process our bamboo to ensure it is truly a sustainable option.
I’m guessing you have heard that bamboo was at first considered a great replacement for cotton, wood and many other products because it is cheap, fast growing, strong, it has naturally occurring antimicrobial properties and its super light-weight making it fuel efficient when shipping. However, in more recent years it has come to light that the farming methods some have chosen to use and processing methods are extremely damaging to the environment. The whole point of changing to awesome products like bamboo is to reduce the harm on the environment so this of course harmed the reputation of bamboo as being a truly sustainable option.
Bamboo grows like a weed, it can easily take over surrounding natural forests which is not good for the eco system because it can destroy everything else growing and “bam” no more biodiversity in the area. It is important to ensure that bamboo plantations are well contained as to not harm the gentle balance in the surrounding ecosystems.
The biggest concern I have with bamboo products are the chemicals used to transform the extremely hard wood like substance into fabrics. Most of these products are so far processed that they barely resemble anything even close to bamboo. Manufacturers often use sodium hydroxide to produce textiles. The global interest in bamboo has also pressed manufacturers to use pesticides and mass farming techniques to produce more bamboo. As we now know this can have very damaging side effects and is clearly not a sustainable option.
At Bamboo Sisters we are planning to keep it small! For now, we are using naturally occurring bamboo grown right in the back yard of our Thai family in northern Thailand. This family is who cuts it down, cleans, sands it and sends it to you. Your purchase directly supports them. They even taught me how to naturally ensure that our products are pest free. We simply take the leaves from the neighboring Neem tree and boil them together with the straws providing a natural pesticide barrier. We know approximately how many straws this one small area and family can make and once we reach the maximum we will simply expand to work with other families around Thailand, providing a truly sustainable option and and financial support to families who may not have other options. Rest assured that your sustainable sipper is truly a sustainable option.