Who is KicKee Pants?
We are KicKee Pants! You may have noticed that we have recently changed the spelling of the brand name. Rest assured, we are still the same company, with the same philosophy and same employees. The change was to offer more global protection for the brand for trademark purposes. We are very excited to be able to offer the line in the world market and look forward to serving the needs of our customers in the years to come...with a slightly different spelling! If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us!
Organically Grown Assurance
KicKee Pants uses only source bamboo that is grown organically and the farm holds two organic certifications for the bamboo. One from OCIA International, and one from the US National Organic Program (USDA).
Harmful Chemical Free Assurance
The company that produces viscose from bamboo fiber for KicKee Pants holds an Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certification for their viscose from bamboo fiber. 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.
KicKee Pants products meet all CPSIA certification requirements. Certifications are available upon request.
The factory we work with to produce our viscose from bamboo fabric participates in ISO 9000 Quality Management policies and ISO 14000 Environmental Management policies. This signifies an environmental mindfulness that is important to KicKee Pants. The factory holds an ISO 14001 2004 Environment Management System Attestation and an ISO 9001 2000 Quality System Attestation.
What chemicals are used in the processing of your bamboo fiber and are they hazardous?
One of the main chemicals 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 some 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 serious health hazard if used and disposed of properly. To our knowledge, the company that processes KicKee Pants, Inc viscose from bamboo fiber uses and disposes of all chemicals with high regards to environmental and worker safety. Our fiber supplier in China has confirmed that the fiber they produce is produced in a 'closed loop' system where 100% of the sodium hydroxide and 74% of the carbon disulphide is recovered and recycled for further use, meaning every effort is made to avoid releasing any chemicals into the environment. This is not to say that there is NO impact from the processing of bamboo fiber, there is certainly a significant environmental impact. We believe , however, that the total impact is on level with any apparel item that is newly created for purchase , even organic cotton items. KicKee Pants also actively encourages its suppliers to continue their research and development into new ways to lesson the environmental impact of processing viscose from bamboo fabric. KicKee Pants uses low impact, fiber reactive dyes. While we believe these dyes to be the most environmentally friendly option that have proven colorfastness and consistency qualities (they are used by most major organic clothing companies and are widely considered the best option), they are not as environmentally friendly as vegetable dyes, which are not known for color fastness. The dyes used in KicKee Pants apparel pose no health threat to the wearer. KicKee Pants "Natural" color is completely dye free.
Because of the processing, should bamboo fiber still be considered "green"?
It is our opinion that it absolutely should. To discount all of the known positives of using bamboo for fabric 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 and land used to grow it, or that oil torches may be burned to keep insects away from the crop, or because caustic soda may be used in the processing, or because it uses dyes, or metal snaps. However, the production of viscose from bamboo fiber can and should be improved. KicKee Pants is committed to using the highest quality and most eco-friendly product available. Here is some further commonly available information about why bamboo is such an eco-friendly, sustainable crop.
Bamboo grows naturally without the need for agricultural tending and large diesel tractors to plant seeds and cultivate the soil.
Bamboo is among the fastest growing plants 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.
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.
Our 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.
Is Bamboo fiber "rayon"?
Given that rayon is a cellulose fiber made from natural sources like Bamboo, yes. The cellulose is extracted from Bamboo and reshaped into this semi-synthetic fiber. It is considered "man-made" and regenerated because chemicals are used to turn the wood chips into pulp that is then spun into fiber (detailed more above). However, rayon production has changed vastly over the years, and if done properly, we believe rayon, or viscose, from bamboo can be considered a viable eco friendly option, even when weighed against organic cotton (which is not necessarily chemical free in its complete production, although it can be). All KicKee Pants products are labeled in accordance with FTC guidelines.