With the growing trends in environment awareness, bamboo has cropped up as a green alternative to other woody raw materials. From soft bath towels, to sturdy buildings and homes, bamboo is used for products in nearly every industry.
What’s wrong with hardwood as a raw material?
As an alternative to hard wood trees, bamboo is extremely eco-friendly. In cutting down trees, the deforestation of rainforests and lands across the country have created several problems that will take decades to reverse:
- Tropical deforestation is responsible for approximately 20% of world greenhouse gas emissions.
- Deforestation of hardwoods declines biodiversity, creating higher risks for plant diseases, and requiring more pesticides.
- Trees contribute greatly to the health of the water cycle through evaporation, without them, our healthy water cycle would come to a screeching halt.
- Soil loss and erosion is a common effect of cutting down large expanses of trees, while undisturbed forests have a very low rate of soil loss.
In short, trees help regulate our climate, water cycle, soil, and entire ecosystem. The increased use of bamboo can help or solve the majority of these issues. There are several additional benefits of bamboo.
Why is bamboo eco-friendly?
- Hard wood takes 30-50 years to mature, while bamboo reaches maturity in 3-5 years.
- The same square footage of bamboo produces more oxygen than many tree varieties.
- Bamboo can grow and prosper in several different climates across the world.
- All species of bamboo grow at a rapid speed, and several species grow up to four feet in a single day.
- Due to the durability of bamboo plants, no pesticides or chemicals are needed to encourage the maturation process, and they require much less water than trees.
- Bamboo products decompose into a completely reusable and nutrient-rich composted soil.
When it comes to the cultivation and manufacturing process of bamboo, controversy abounds. Let’s set the record straight: there are two sides to every story. If bamboo is cultivated using proper, sustainable methods, and manufactured by trustworthy, environmentally aware companies, it is an excellent alternative material.
Most bamboo fences, tables, and chairs are made in sustainable and eco-friendly ways. If you are looking for sturdy bamboo furniture or bamboo flooring, just do your best to find a brand that uses as little formaldehyde as possible. Consider manufacturers that use urea-formaldehyde glue. It doesn’t emit any toxins once it is dry. Bamboo is naturally resistant to rot, termites, and other pests, making it an excellent choice for sturdy buildings and outdoor décor.
Bamboo Textiles & Clothing
Despite the stripping that occurs to create bamboo fabric, several sources, including The National Geographic’s Green Guide cite that cotton fabric creates at least as many emissions. Considering all options, the benefits of bamboo fabric far outweigh the consequences. Bamboo fibers serve as a natural antibiotic and are completely biodegradable.
The fabric made from bamboo is softer than cotton, and is often likened to the feel of cashmere. Due to its natural water-wicking moisture, it makes for excellent workout gear. You can even find soft, silky bamboo rugs and towels that dry very quickly.
Bamboo is the fastest growing woody plant on earth. It is edible for animals and humans, is an excellent source of vital nutrients, and has been used in Chinese recipes for centuries.
Bamboo can help eliminate global warming. The plants produce a great deal of oxygen, and can process large quantities of carbon dioxide emissions. Since it grows in diverse climates, it can be planted in strategic areas to control emissions and reduce carbon dioxide gas from other sources.
Bamboo can restore lands that suffer from degradation. It is able to grow in such diverse climates that it can actually restore lands that were over-farmed, overgrazed, or poorly treated. As a durable plant, most harvesting methods do not kill it, so the topsoil is held in place and further nourished by the falling leaves, protecting agricultural lands for generations of plants to come.
Image courtesy of exhibitiondesign.Featured Bamboo Products