Plastic waste is considered one of the most significant contributors to environmental pollution. Most of these plastic wastes pile up in the ocean, rivers, woods, and landfills damaging the environment.
People nowadays are becoming more alert to the ominous warning of this situation and alternating plastic with eco-friendly options. The term eco-friendly depicts those materials or products that cause little or no harm to the environment.
Bamboo, an eco-friendly, sustainable crop, is considered one of the most acceptable alternatives for plastic. As a result, many textile, homeware and hardware companies have switched from plastic to bamboo in the last few decades. Not only has bamboo replaced plastics, but it also took over the place of other natural resources like lumber.
But why has bamboo become so popular? Is it truly sustainable? Let us find the answer.
Concept of Bamboo
Bamboo is simply a type of grass that you will find with a hard, woody, hollow stem. It is said to be the fastest-growing plant globally and is available all year.
Hundreds of kinds of bamboo grow worldwide, especially in high humidity regions. It is extremely easy to farm with little water and no pesticides or herbicides. A wide variety of bamboos grow in Southeast Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the southern regions of the USA.
Bamboo is used for various purposes, from construction to medicine. Because of its crispy texture and sweet flavor, cooks often use it as fillers for Asian cuisines. In addition, its sustainability circle has made it a commonly used row ingredient for clothing and homeware.
Bamboo is a tough substance. Surprisingly, it is even stronger than steel! Who knew, right? It is perfect for scaffolding, good props, building huts, houses, etc. Bamboo furniture, dinnerware, jewelry, etc., are popular nowadays. Musical instruments, wind chimes, and nearly anything commonly made of wood can be made using bamboo.
Are Bamboo Products Sustainable?
Bamboo products have experienced a big boom worldwide in the past few years for their sustainability. But the question remains, are all bamboo products sustainable?
In its raw form, bamboo is considered highly sustainable and the perfect choice for eco-conscious customers. It is strong, aesthetic, and biodegradable. What else does a consumer want? However, processed bamboo products with added chemicals cannot be considered sustainable.
To understand whether a bamboo product is sustainable, you need to consider facts like - how it was produced, how it has been shipped, whether there were any nasty chemicals involved in making this product, etc.
We also need to consider that bamboo is shipped into Europe and the US mainly from China. So, we have little knowledge of how the plantations are done.
Bamboo is used in a versatile form in many different products. For example, you will find bamboo coffee cups and bamboo straws used instead of plastic alternatives to save the world from plastic waste.
Bamboo furniture, floorings, and construction materials are solid, lightweight, and are naturally antibacterial. In addition, bamboo utensils, toilet rolls, and packaging are becoming more popular among eco-conscious consumers.
While bamboo is a naturally renewable resource that can be used as an alternative to plastic, some bamboo products like bamboo fabric and other goods with added chemicals are not sustainable.
5 reasons why bamboo is so important for the environmental conservation
Bamboo is an amazing natural resource that can help us save our planet earth. Here’s how it does that.
1. Bamboo is the fastest growing plant
Bamboo is known to be the fastest-growing plant in the world. How? It grows slowly at first, and then after five years, when it reaches maturity, it exhibits the astonishing fast growth that we are talking about. After that, you can harvest it many times. It can grow 3 feet tall in suitable condition in 24 hours! It only takes 3-4 months to reach its full size.
There is no need to use nasty chemicals to protect it from parasites. Harvesting bamboo also requires little effort.
2. Safe and hygienic
Bamboo fibres are naturally antibacterial. A substance named “bamboo kon” is an antimicrobial bio-agent that gives bamboo its antibacterial properties. It means no need for added chemicals to keep the product naturally sterile and fresh.
3. Strong and durable
Bamboo has incredible strength. It is even stronger than steel. With a tensile strength of 28,000 PSI, bamboo is lightweight with a longer lifespan. This makes bamboo popular in the construction industry of South-East Asia. You will find entire homes made of bamboo in those areas.
Bamboo products, with proper care, will last you a long period without deteriorating.
4. Good for the community
Producing and manufacturing bamboo has a great impact on our community. The versatile production of bamboo is altering plastic products that save the world. Biodegradable products help us implement a zero waste policy to save the world from plastic waste polluting our environment.
The manufacturing and farming process creates economically stable jobs for the community's people because bamboo can grow anywhere, making it ideal for planting in every environment and creating employment in underdeveloped areas.
5. Sustainable and eco-friendly
Bamboo produces 35% more oxygen than an equivalent tree and absorbs twice the amount of carbon dioxide that an average tree.
Bamboo plants have strong roots that remain in place after harvesting. This protects soil by preventing erosion. Bamboo trees also help preserve vital moisturizers in the soil. In addition, the cultivation of bamboo requires no fertilizer, pesticides, or herbicides, which means fewer chemicals to the environment.
Almost 1 million acres of forests are being destroyed each week because of deforestation. The fast growth of bamboo trees offers a chance to reduce this deforestation figure and help protect the forests drastically.
Bamboo forests help protect biodiversity by creating homes and providing food for several endangered animals.
Example of Some Bamboo Products
Bamboo is versatile and used in an increasingly wide number of products. From toothbrushes to coffee cups to flooring, you will find bamboo products everywhere.
Millions of plastic toothbrushes ending up in landfills are destroying our environment. Using bamboo toothbrushes with recyclable BPA-free bristles and biodegradable handles will help you take part in saving the world from plastic waste.
Bamboo Toilet Paper
Want to stop being wasteful? Why don’t you start using bamboo toilet paper to help prevent deforestation and reduce carbon emissions?
Papers and cardboard materials made of bamboo are biodegradable and can be composed at home. Many computing and electronic companies are using bamboo packaging to ship their products.
Bamboo utensils with natural, vegan, and food-safe finishes are one of the best things you can keep in your kitchen. Especially if you are an eco-conscious person who gets irritated by disposable cutlery, you will find on-the-go bamboo cutlery as a blessing.
Bamboo can be used to make any products you usually find made with wood. It is strong and lightweight and can suit any design scheme, no matter what the decor is.
Use bamboo furniture in your home or office to give it an earthy-tropical look. If you are eco-conscious and looking for stylish furniture, bamboo is the best choice for you.
Frequently asked questions about bamboos
Are bamboo fabrics sustainable?
The sustainability of bamboo fabric depends on how it is produced. Bamboo fabrics made using rayon and viscose technology require a large amount of energy during production. Materials made from lyocell require water and chemicals.
The best sustainable way to produce bamboo fabric is mercerization which uses natural enzymes instead of harsh chemicals.
How can I use bamboo in my home?
The use of bamboo is versatile. It is solid and lightweight, making it perfect to be used in the construction of homes. You can use bamboo furniture, flooring, and your everyday household items as sustainable options for your house.
Is it possible to recycle old bamboo?
Most of the bamboo products are biodegradable, thus suitable for composting. However, products with added chemicals are not suitable for composting. You can also reuse old bamboo products, turning them into creating new things.
If you are thinking about living a sustainable and eco-friendly life, starting with using bamboo products will undoubtedly tick your box. Will the organic and biodegradable bamboo products save this world plastic waste that has been killing our planet? The answer is yet to be seen. But it is a start.
Written by Jared McMillen
About the Author
Jared spent most of his working life in financial markets. He observed corporations making decisions for profit regardless of the impact on the environment. In many cases this was in full knowledge of the implications to the environment so it was a conscious decision of profit over our planet even though there were options that would deliver both; albeit at a lower profit margin. As these decisions were outside of Jared’s control he decided to make changes in his own life to help our planet. He found it difficult to find eco-friendly cleaning products that were not harmful as well as finding the correct information about how he could make a difference. It was from this frustration The Eco Friend was born.
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