How green is bamboo?

How green is bamboo?

Lots of people are talking bamboo and asking the question how green is bamboo? The bamboo plant and the fibers produced from it are well known to be versatile. Bamboo can be used for a variety of different items including, bikes, furniture, bedding, flooring and even scaffolding.

The bamboo plant is a grass, not a tree as many think, in fact there about 1200 different species of bamboo. Commercially around 100 bamboo varieties are used worldwide and more companies everyday are using the plant. Bamboo is the fastest growing plant in the world and takes just 3 years to harvest.

It seems that there are some drawbacks to bamboo including the amount of carbon that it pulls from the atmosphere. When bamboo flooring is glued together some manufacturers use toxic adhesives, when buying bamboo flooring it is best to check with the Green Guard Environmental Institute for options that are non-toxic.

The majority of bamboo that is harvested comes from China and Vietnam, most of the bamboo products are made in these countries too. The global bamboo market is now worth $7 billion per year and this grows every year, it is predicted by 2017 this will be worth $17 billion. There is definitely scope for more suppliers and products to hit the market.

What about the products made from bamboo?

Products like fences, chairs and tables are usually made in eco-friendly and sustainable ways. Things to look out for are companies that use less toxics like formaldehyde in the manufacturing process. It’s quite common to see bamboo houses in countries in Southeast and East Asia, there is a simple reason for this, the plant is naturally resistant to termites and rot.

If we look at clothing for instance, the process of stripping the bamboo does involve chemicals, but cotton produces just the same amount of emissions. Bamboo fiber and fabric is an excellent choice for clothing, the fiber is naturally antibiotic and 100% biodegradable. It’s not just clothing that can be made from bamboo, bedding, such as sheets, duvet covers and towels can be made from the fiber. The fiber absorbs moisture and also dries extremely quickly, making it beneficial in the home.

As well as making products from bamboo, the shoots can be used as part of healthy diet, have ever tried bamboo shoots in a Chinese dish?

The conclusion is that bamboo is green and eco-friendly, but caution should be taken with products that they do not use too many toxins as part of the manufacturing process.

©Bamboo & Coconut 2016

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