Retailers labeling rayon products as bamboo products in an effort to reach a new market will soon have to change their labels.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) – a US agency for consumer protection – updated its textile guidelines this week, targeting companies such as Macy’s, Amazon and Walmart who label rayon clothing as bamboo clothing.
The designation is misleading for consumers, says the FTC.
“Rayon is a man-made fiber created from the cellulose found in plants and trees,” they say. “Any plant or tree – including bamboo – could be used as the cellulose source, but the fiber that is created is rayon.”
The FTC’s new guidelines suggest companies using real bamboo provide reliable evidence, like scientific tests and analyses, before they market their clothing as being made from bamboo.
Rayon clothing is increasing in popularity around the world, particularly in Asia, largely because the cotton industry is at a breaking point. Demand for cotton still remains high, but producers simply can’t keep up. Last year, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) predicted the biggest decline in US cotton bales since 2003 and also detailed declines in countries such as Pakistan and Australia.
Fortress Paper recently bought a near-defunct hardwood pulp mill in Thurso, Quebec that they are converting to a full-scale dissolving pulp mill in order to produce cellulose, the source of rayon.