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11 things you thought were green -- but there's a catch

Bamboo clothing and textiles

Photo: June_Plum/Flickr

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Bamboo clothing and textiles

This plant creates a viable green building material, but it is not the wisest choice for clothing. Bamboo fibers must be cooked in strong chemical solvents and turned into a viscose solution before it can be reconstructed into proper weaving material, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). As with cotton, the chemicals used to create that fabric are pollutants that can threaten air quality and wildlife. However, some manufacturers do use a more environmentally friendly, closed-loop system that contains the pollutants.