Distribution of bamboo trees: secondary industries

Textiles

As consumers pay more and more attention to health and environmental issues, there is an increasing demand for green and ecological textiles. Bamboo, along with cotton, ramie, wool and silk, is a natural fibre.

There are two methods by which bamboo can be processed into fibre, both developed in China. The first is a mechanical process similar to that used to process flax or hemp; the stalks are crushed and natural enzymes break them down further, allowing fibres to be combed out. The other follows the process by which rayon is made, where the fibres are broken down with chemicals and extruded mechanically. Bamboo fabric is known for its softness and boasts b absorbency and anti-microbial properties. Bamboo fibre products such as underwear, socks, T-shirts, bath towels, bathrobes, pillows and bed sheets have gained in popularity.

The unique characteristics of bamboo fibre

  • Breathability and coolness
  • Anti-bacteria
  • UV-protection

Breathability and coolness

Bamboo fibre stands out in terms of its breathability and coolness. Because the cross-section of the bamboo fibre is filled with various micro-gaps and micro-holes, it offers outstanding moisture absorption and ventilation and is particularly suitable for tropical climates or summer wear. Tests show that clothes made from bamboo fibre are 1-2 degrees Centigrade cooler than apparel made from other products.

Anti-bacteria

SGS (Societe Generale de Surveillance S.A), a world leading testing and inspection agency, has confirmed that bamboo fibre is more efficient than cotton at killing off bacteria. Bamboo fibre also contains sodium copper chlorophyllin, an effective deodoriser.

UV-protection

According to tests carried out by the Shanghai Institute of Physics, which is part of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, bamboo fibre also prevents UV radiation effectively without causing skin allergies. Anti-UV tests show that the UV penetration rate is only 0.06%, which is 417 times lower than that of cotton.

Charcoal

Bamboo charcoal is made out of mature Moso Bamboo trees. The wood goes through 30 days of dry distilling and carbonisation at a temperature of several thousand degrees under oxygen-free conditions.

Apart from cooking, bamboo charcoal can be used for reducing odours, and purifying air and water. Drinking water sterilised with chlorine can be treated with bamboo charcoal to remove the residual chlorine and chlorides. Bamboo charcoal will clean and ionise the atmosphere in a room.

Handicraft and chopsticks

The handicrafts market covers a number of categories including wooden kitchenware, textiles, potteries, wood-based products, ornaments, paintings and souvenirs. It is a fragmented market based on traditional practices.

Disposable chopsticks are widely used in restaurants in countries and territories such as China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia. Chopsticks are generally made out of white birch or bamboo and are almost entirely produced in China. It is estimated that 123 million pairs of chopsticks are used in China every day, which adds up to a total yearly consumption of 45 billion pairs.

Tourism

Bamboo forests are of aesthetic value and also attract tourists in some parts of the world. Bamboo tourism has development in recent years in the areas of sightseeing, ecology, handicrafts and folklore. For example, bamboo rafts have been used on rivers in the beautiful Wuyi Mountain area in Fujian for thousands of years and are now a major draw for tourists.

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