Why Bamboo?

Feel and properties:

  • Bamboo fabric has a natural sheen and softness that feels and drapes like silk but is less expensive and more durable.
  • Bamboo has a natural wicking ability, helping keep baby warm, dry and odor free -- bamboo fabric helps stop odor-producing bacteria from growing and spreading in the bamboo cloth, allowing bamboo clothing to be more hygienic and to remain fresher smelling.
  • Bamboo is highly absorbent and wicks water away from the body 3 to 4 times faster than cotton. In warm, humid and sweaty weather, bamboo clothing helps keep the wearer drier, cooler and more comfortable and doesn’t stick to the skin.
  • Because of the smooth and round structure of its fibers, bamboo clothing is soft and non-irritating, even to sensitive skin. Bamboo clothing is hypoallergenic.

Bamboo and the Environment:

The Fabric:

  • Bamboo fabric is 100% biodegradable {if undyed and made from 100% bamboo} and can be completely decomposed in the soil by micro-organisms and sunlight without decomposing into any pollutants such as methane gas which is commonly produced as a by-product of decomposition in landfills and dumps.
  • Kicky Pants uses certified Oeko-Tex Standard 100 bamboo fiber, ensuring that there are no harmful toxins in the fabric.
  • Kicky Pants Bamboo is certified organically grown.

Growing Bamboo:

  • The bamboo used to create the Kicky Pants raw material is grown in a fully sustainable process {byproduct is returned to the land to biodegrade} on land where many other crops could not grow.
  • Bamboo is an eco-friendly, sustainable crop for various reasons:
    • Bamboo grows quickly -- It is among the fastest growing plants in the world, reaching close to full height in about 100 days in the right weather conditions.
    • Bamboo has an inherent ability to retain water and does not require irrigation.
    • Bamboo has a unique anti-bacterial, antifungal property that aids the plants in fighting off disease and insects that would require the use of pesticides.
  • Bamboo grows naturally without the need for agricultural tending and large diesel tractors to plant seeds and cultivate the soil.
  • Bamboo is the fastest growing plant in the world -- growing as fast as 47.6 inches in a 24-hour period. Bamboo can be selectively harvested every year after 7 years -- compared to 30 to 50 years for trees -- and bamboo regenerates without replanting. With a 10-30% annual increase in biomass versus 2-5% for trees, bamboo can yield 20 times more timber than trees on the same area.
  • Because of its height, bamboo outproduces cotton 10:1. In other words, using the material grown from the same amount of space required to produce enough cotton for 10 tee shirts, 100 tee shirts could be made from bamboo.
  • Bamboo tolerates extremes of drought and drowning, generates 30% more oxygen than trees and is considered a critical element in the balance between oxygen and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Because of its wide spread root system and large canopy, bamboo greatly reduces rain run off and prevents soil erosion. Bamboo helps mitigate water pollution due to its high nitrogen consumption, making it a solution for excess nutrient uptake of waste water from manufacturing, livestock farming and sewage treatment.
  • Bamboo plantations are large factories for photosynthesis which reduces greenhouse gases. Bamboo plants absorb about 5 times the amount of carbon dioxide {a primary greenhouse gas} and produces about 35% more oxygen than an equivalent stand of trees. What an amazing natural source to replenish our fresh air and fight global warming!
  • Currently, there are no known genetically modified organisms (GMO) variants of bamboo
  • Since bamboo grows like grass, sending up new shoots continually and in a sustainable manner, harvesting bamboo is similar to mowing your lawn. Replanting is not necessary as it is with other crops, thereby reducing the carbon footprint even further.
  • Kicky Pants bamboo plantations are also pesticide and fertilizer free, as bamboo flourishes on its own, and naturally resists pests. This is a break-through fabric when you consider that conventional cotton uses more insecticides than any other single crop and epitomizes the worst effects of chemically dependent agriculture. The typical spraying application results in volatile organic compounds released into the air and contributing to green house gases. Additionally, such spraying harms the health of the soil and pollutes the ground water, lakes and streams. Five of the top nine pesticides used on cotton in the U.S. {cyanide, dicofol, naled, propargite, and trifluralin} are KNOWN cancer causing chemicals. All nine are classified by the U.S. EPA as Category I and II -- the most dangerous chemicals. Here’s something to think about: it takes nearly a pound of such chemicals to grow the cotton for one pair of pants and a shirt. Bamboo provides a superior and eco-friendly alternative to such pesticide-intensive crops, and to petrochemical based fibers like nylon and polyester.

Certifications and Processing:

  • Kicky Pants products meet all CPSIA certification requirements.
  • While the creation of bamboo fiber seems to have mystified a few and even spurred some erroneous reports on how bamboo fiber is manufactured, the process is really quite simple. The bamboo culms can be pulped through a process of mechanical combing, and/or baths of sodium hydroxide. Kicky Pants bamboo is pulped using sodium hydroxide. The plant we use follows a closed process, which means that the release of byproducts into the environment is negligible. All precautions are taken to ensure the safety of the workers and the environment. Sodium hydroxide is reactive but it is not toxic, i.e. it does not cause DNA damage, does not enter the food chain and is short lived because of its reactivity. It is easily neutralized into salt and water. Furthermore sodium hydroxide is used as a washing agent for many organic cotton textiles and is certified by the global organic textile standards. All our bamboo fiber is certified under Oeko-Tex Standard 100, which has become the best known and most successful label for textiles tested for harmful substances.
  • The Oeko Tex 100 Standard is a certification of a product at a given point in the manufacturing process. The certification states that no chemicals harmful to human health, including that of babies, are present in the product at the time of testing. It does not certify that no chemicals were used in the processing nor does it make any evaluation of what processes were used or any evaluation of the facilities that participated. There are other Oeko Tex certifications, such as 1000 and 100+ that certify processes or facilities but Oeko Tex 100 does not.
  • Kicky Pants is proud to use certified organic bamboo. The farm where the bamboo is grown is certified by OCIA International and the bamboo crops are certified by the USDA Organic Seal.
  • Kicky Pants factories participate in ISO 9000 Quality Management policies and ISO 14000 Environmental Management policies.
  • There are two main types of bamboo fiber. The first is usually described as 'mechanical' and the second as 'chemical'. Very little of the mechanical fiber is in circulation and is not widely used. The fiber produced chemically is what we use and what most companies are using at this time. As stated above, the main chemical used in the processing is sodium hydroxide also known as caustic soda. Caustic soda is one of the most widely used chemicals in the world. It is used in food production, soap making, manufacturing of bio diesel, production of paper, and is used on nearly all cotton fabrics, including organic cotton, during wet processing. Caustic soda is approved for use on textiles under the Global Organic Textile Standard {GOTS}. While caustic soda is a strong chemical it poses no health hazard if used and disposed of properly.
  • Kicky Pants bamboo is grown on managed farms/plantations in Southeastern China. Since all of the bamboo fiber is processed in China and there is an abundance of bamboo growing in China, Kicky Pants spins their fiber from the bamboo grown there. This saves on carbon dioxide output, as the fabric is grown, spun, cut and sewn in the same county. Kicky Pants has also found it to be the only place in the world with the factories that have the know-how to produce high quality bamboo product.

Cutting and Sewing:

  • All Kicky Pants apparel is cut and sewn in China. Kicky Pants works with great factories that treat their employees fairly {some might say better than in the US -- after the earthquakes in China, employees in Kicky Pants factories were all allowed to leave if they had family in the affected areas with no penalties}. Furthermore, the cutters and sewers all have expertise in working with bamboo, which can be tricky to do well for those who are unfamiliar with it.
  • Kicky Pants works directly with their factories and do not use a "middleman" or translator. This helps Kicky Pants to pass savings on to their stores and to the consumer, and ensures that they have a direct relationship with their factories. Kicky Pants, therefore, enjoy a very friendly and transparent manufacturing process. They are also able to have more control over the process. For example, Kicky Pants makes sure that their items are never sprayed with pesticides when coming through customs.
  • Kicky Pants does not purchase premade fabric, but has their exclusive blend manufactured for them.

Dyeing and Finishing:

  • All dyeing and finishing is done using low impact reactive dyes.
  • Bamboo fibers and fabrics absorb dyes faster and more thoroughly than cotton, modal and viscose with better color clarity. Bamboo fabrics do not need to be mercerized to improve their luster and dye-ability like cotton requires.
  • Kicky Pants uses fiber reactive low impact dyes. Fiber reactive dyes are petrol-chemical in nature and have a definite adverse impact on the environment. While Kicky Pants uses the lowest impact fiber reactive dyes available, they are by no means zero impact. At best, approximately 75%-80% of the dyestuffs, depending on the color, stay on the fabric --the rest go out for wastewater treatment before being returned to the aquifer. Unfortunately, there is nothing better on the market and, while Kicky Pants would like to be as good of stewards of the environment as possible, Kicky Pants works with the best materials available until something better is developed. Additionally, Kicky Pants does not use ANY chlorine for bleaching or pre-bleaching.
  • All of Kicky Pants purely natural fabric is just that -- natural without dye.

Panda habitat:

Giant pandas and red pandas eat over 30 species of bamboo and Kicky Pants species, Moso: Phyllostachys Pubescens, is not among the list. Moso is the largest temperate bamboo species and is too big for either panda to eat. They eat smaller bamboo plants that they are able to grasp with their paws. The habitat and food supply of the Giant Panda is definitely shrinking, however, it would be wrong to link this to bamboo cultivation for fiber. It seems that the culprit is the increase in population in China and the cutting of forest to make way for that development.

Kicky Pants Frequently Asked Questions

Can I machine wash my Kicky Pants Bamboo Basics?
Bamboo clothing is easy to launder in a clothes washer and dryer. For best results, wash on cool and hang to dry or dry on low heat. Bamboo clothing is naturally more wrinkle-resistant than cotton, and while it might still require ironing after washing, bamboo fabric can be ironed at a lower temperature than cotton. Shrinkage during washing and drying is minimal at warm temperatures.

Is bamboo Eco-Friendly?
  • Bamboo the plant and also bamboo the fabric can rate high as an environmentally friendly and renewable resource. Some facts to consider about the greenness of bamboo would be:
    1. Bamboo requires no irrigation.
    2. Bamboo grows rapidly and naturally without any pesticides, herbicides or chemical fertilizers.
    3. Bamboo rarely needs replanting.
    4. Bamboo grows rapidly and can be harvested in 3-5 years.
    5. Bamboo produces 35% more oxygen that an equivalent stand of trees.
    6. Bamboo is a critical element in the balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
    7. Bamboo is an excellent soil erosion inhibitor.
    8. Additionally, bamboo fiber fabric is antimicrobial, thermal regulating, wicks moisture better than cotton or polyester fabrics, is resistant to mold, mildew and odor, and is absorbent, fast drying and supremely comfortable.

What chemicals are used in the processing of Kicky Pants bamboo fiber and are they hazardous?
The main chemical used in the processing is sodium hydroxide, also known as caustic soda. Caustic soda is one of the most widely used chemicals in the world. It is used in food production, soap making, manufacturing of bio diesel, production of paper, and is used on nearly all cotton fabrics, including organic cotton, during wet processing. Caustic soda is approved for use on textiles under the Global Organic Textile Standard {GOTS}. While caustic soda is a strong chemical it poses no health hazard if used and disposed of properly.

Because of the processing, should bamboo fiber still be considered "green"?
Absolutely. To discount all of the known positives of bamboo because certain elements are not 100% eco-friendly would be as bad of a decision as saying that organic cotton is not green or eco-friendly because of the amount of water used to grow it or because caustic soda is used in the processing, or because it uses dyes, or metal snaps. However, the production of bamboo fiber can and should be improved. Kicky Pants is committed to using the highest quality and most eco-friendly product available.

Is bamboo organically grown?
Yes. Kicky Pants bamboo is grown organically and is certified organic.


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