It’s true…you can make fiber out of bamboo. However, there are different ways to do it depending on what kind of fiber you want to end up with. Our baby wipes and diaper liners are processed using a different method than our bathroom tissue. For those of you interested, we describe the processes for you here.
Our bathroom tissue is manufactured using the more environmentally-friendly process of thermo-mechanical pulping that is rarely used to make tissue products (more often it is used in making newsprint). Chlorine dioxide is used (this non elemental chlorine reduces dioxins in the environment to 90%) to assist in removal of lignin and to lighten the product.
The steps are as follows:
- Bamboo is pulverized in machines;
- It is cooked to pulp;
- Paper pulp is sifted;
- Pulp is bleached with equal parts of chlorine dioxide solid (Elemental Chlorine Free) with citric acid and water in a 1:15 ratio;
- Pulp is washed with water;
- Sifting pulp is repeated;
- Pulp is diluted with water;
- Tissue is dried and made into jumbo rolls;
- Jumbo rolls are cut to small pieces for traditional sized bathroom tissue rolls.
The waste water from the pulping process is 100% recycled and is in compliance with environmental laws in China. Although the use of chlorine dioxide is still considered an imperfect solution in the processing of the tissue paper, we have not been able to find a better or more environmentally-friendly solution for creating our bathroom tissue yet. It is our goal to find a manufacturer who can reach our high expectations. However we feel that these lower impact processes combined with the use of the abundant, tree-free material of bamboo makes our bathroom tissue the best alternative to tree pulp tissue, both virgin and recycled-content, currently on the market.
Our baby wipes and diaper liners are manufactured using the rayon or viscose method for turning cellulose from bamboo into a usable fiber. The main chemical used during the process to break down the bamboo is sodium hydroxide, most commonly known as caustic soda or CS2. 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 the wet processing). Caustic soda is approved for use on textiles under the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). One of the most important parts of the process is all recyclable. The fiber is processed in a hermetic container where 100% of the chemicals that are used are trapped and contained – not released into the factory, environment or atmosphere. 73 percent of CS2s are recycled, 26 percent are recycled into H2SO4. The chemicals do not pollute any part of the environment.
The steps are as follows:
- Bamboo leaves and the soft, inner pith from the hard bamboo trunk are extracted and crushed;
- The crushed bamboo cellulose is soaked in a aqueous solution of 15% to 20% sodium hydroxide at a temperature between 20 degrees C to 25 degrees C for one to three hours to form bamboo alkali cellulose;
- The bamboo alkali cellulose is then pressed to remove any excess sodium hydroxide solution. The alkali cellulose is left to dry for 24 hours;
- Roughly a third as much carbon disulfide is added to the bamboo alkali cellulose to sulfurize the compound causing it to jell;
- Any remaining carbon disulfide is removed due to decompression and cellulose sodium xanthogenate is the result;
- A diluted solution of sodium hydroxide is added to the cellulose sodium xanthogenate dissolving it to create a viscose solution consisting of about 5% sodium hydroxide and 7% to 15% bamboo fiber cellulose.
- The viscose bamboo cellulose is forced through spinneret nozzles into a large container of a highly diluted sulfuric acid solution which hardens the viscose bamboo cellulose sodium xanthogenate and reconverts it to cellulose bamboo.
- The finished fiber is sent to a wet wipes manufacturing facility where the spun lace process is used (without chemicals) to turn the fiber into thin, disposable sheets using high pressure water jets.
Our raw material supplier is Oeko-Tex Standard 100 Certified. The Oeko-Tex® Standard 100 provides the textile and clothing industry with a globally uniform standard for the objective assessment of harmful substances. Raw materials, intermediate and end products at all stages of processing throughout the manufacturing chain are tested and certified. In addition, our baby wipes have passed tests in the U.S.A. to determine the absence of the following: 1,4 dioxane, formaldehyde, bispenol- A, and detection of elemental chlorine.