With protection of natural resources an ever increasing concern, use of sustainable resources is a worthy goal. If you are one that thinks twice before using products made from a limited supply natural resource, I highly recommend you do a little research on bamboo products. Not traditionally considered in the US, bamboo’s popularity as a natural marvel is on the increase. Used to make everything from furniture and flooring to clothing and kitchen ware, bamboo’s sustainability properties along with its strength, beauty and durability have been rightly recognized.
As the fastest-growing plant and most renewable resource known on Earth, bamboo can grow as much as 48 inches in a 24 hour period. It can reach its full height and width in one growing season of 3-4 months. Unlike trees, bamboo does not require replanting after it is harvested as its root system naturally replenishes by continually sending up new shoots. This helps to prevent erosion and damage to the environment. An incredibly sustainable resource needing no pesticides to grow bamboo is 100% biodegradable.
Bamboo is suitable for a vast array of products. Bamboo as a material for making furniture is harder than maple wood, lighter in weight than oak and as strong as steel. For use in construction, the ‘culm’ part of the plant will not be at full strength for 2-7 years but the young shoots are a common food ingredient in many Asian dishes.
Pulverizing bamboo for its fibers creates a puffy mass that is spun into cloth. Bamboo cloth is extremely soft and unlike natural wool or hemp is hypo-allergenic. Bamboo cloth is used to make clothing, blankets, sheets and towels. Handcrafted from the bamboo sheath with no part of the living bamboo plant harmed, disposable bamboo plates and utensils are becoming a popular replacement for paper and plastic.
Bamboo is truly a wonder as a sustainable cost effective, and ecologically responsible alternative to cutting our forests. Its beauty, strength and durability find it an environmentally friendly replacement for wood, paper, and plastic.