You only need to glance at a construction site in Hong Kong to get an idea of just how useful and versatile bamboo is as a material. Bamboo wood obviously isn’t super-soft in its natural state – which explains why workers can put it up as scaffolding around a building. How, then, does it get to be so luxuriously comfy by the time it reaches the bed sheets on your bed? Okooko by European Bedding specialises in silky soft bamboo sheets; we asked the team to explain the manufacturing background.
How bamboo sheets and bedding are made
“The traditional process is one that takes raw bamboo and creates bamboo fibres known as viscose or rayon. However, this is detrimental to the environment since it uses harmful chemicals like sulphuric acid, sodium hydroxide and chlorinated bleach to breakdown bamboo cellulose and convert it to fibre.
“Creating bamboo lyocell, on the other hand, is a more eco-friendly process; fewer chemicals are used, and they’re never released into the soil as a by-product. It’s a ‘closed-loop’ manufacturing process; so, the solution used to make fibres out of the bamboo pulp is 99 percent recaptured and reused.”
The upshot? Lyocell is the most cost-effective and eco-friendly bamboo fibre on the market today – which is why it’s the product of choice for Okooko, in the form of its Heveya Organic Bamboo Lyocell sheets. What’s more, the company’s manufacturing partner only uses bamboo from FSC-certified plantations, and it is WRAP-certified as well, which means an ethical workplace for its employees.
7 super “eco facts” about bamboo
#1 It’s self-sustainable. Unlike cotton, bamboo is a grass: it flourishes and multiplies on its own with close to no artificial aid.
#2 For this reason, no insecticides, pesticides or fertilisers are used – so it’s safe to say that bamboo is naturally organic!
#3 A field of bamboo requires only one-third the amount of water to grow compared to its cotton counterparts.
#4 It doesn’t need human intervention to replant.
#5 A newly planted bamboo shoot is ready to harvest in as little as three to four years, so it’s a super-fast grower.
#6 Bamboo plantations improve soil quality and prevent soil erosion.
#7 It absorbs five times more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and produces 35 percent more oxygen than similar plants.
Get a set for yourself
Okooko’s Heveya Organic Bamboo Lyocell bed sheets feature a smooth, soft, feathery texture that’s similar to silk, but not as shiny or slippery. The softness of the fibres is comparable to cotton with a 1,000 thread count, yet it comes at a fraction of the price.
Another advantage is that the sheets are naturally hypoallergenic and antimicrobial. They’re amazingly breathable, too, which means perspiration is quickly wicked away to keep you dry all night. The temperature-regulating properties mean you’ll be cool in summer and cosy and warm in winter. And an added bonus is the easy maintenance (unlike silk); a cold wash on a gentle cycle without bleach or softeners, and you’re done.
Visit the store in person or check out the website to see the whole range of bamboo sheets, along with everything you might need to set up your bedroom for maximum comfort – from bed bases and mattresses, to pillows, accessories and more.
This article first appeared in the Summer issue of Expat Living magazine. Subscribe now so you never miss an issue.