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Bamboo is often presented as a green wonder material, showing up in everything from flooring to bicycles to laptop cases; but it’s important to understand that while the material itself is fast-growing and renewable, the processes needed to transform it into a finished product can negate the sustainability factor. When outdoor gear company Patagonia needed to design a warm-water wetsuit—something more in line with the temperatures in their native SoCal than, say, the frigid Dungeons of South Africa—the green-minded company looked into bamboo to provide the fiber. But research showed that roughly half of the solvents needed in the production process would end up as waste. Then they struck upon a novel material for a wetsuit: Recycled polyester. There’s plenty of the stuff, and it’s a sign o’ the times that we can (and should) start seeing used plastic as a valid raw materials alternative to something that grows out of the ground. (via When is Polyester Greener than Bamboo? - Core77)

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