Why is Bamboo So Incredibly Sustainable?
While looking into sustainable products, it is hard to miss the mass amounts of bamboo products. But why is making products and structures out of bamboo so sustainable?
Bamboo is actually part of the grass family. It is grown all over the world but it prefers a tropical climate. If in the correct climate, a bamboo culm (single stem) can grow up to 3 feet in one day! It has been used for over 5,000 years for flooring, paper, arrows, and structures. Bamboo has been an essential aspect in many cultures for centuries.
But why is bamboo sustainable?
Its growing necessities are very unique. Bamboo has the ability to be planted very close together because it is part of the grass family. This allows a tight-knit, complex rooting system to form allowing the roots to control erosion in the area and regulate the water cycle.
Due to the unique rooting system, bamboo requires very little water to grow. It is much easier to harvest a mass amount of bamboo in a small area than it is with other resources - with packed bunches and little resources need. Bamboo saves the health of the surrounding soil, maximizes planting area, and requires very little resources to grow. Proving the reliability of this resource to grow with very little impact on the Earth.
Bamboo is the fastest growing plant on the planet! A single culm of bamboo can grow to maturity in 3-5 years! Because it grows so fast, it is easy to harvest and replant right away. It only takes 6 months to reach its full height. Whereas, a tree to harvest wood can take on the upwards of 50-80 years! This means that you can really maximize the use of your land by planting bamboo instead of a tree.
Bamboo actually cleanses the air! Bamboo releases 30% more oxygen and absorbs for carbon dioxide than any other tree or plant on Earth. Therefore, if we plant more bamboo, we can actually revert the amount of carbon dioxide in the the atmosphere. Bamboo is so awesome that even when used in architecture or structures, it still absorbs CO2. Many countries with mass amounts of bamboo have started building communities out of bamboo culms to absorb the amount of CO2 in their area. It is said that if 100,000 houses were built out of bamboo, it would subtract the amount of CO2 the United Kingdom uses in one entire year.
Convinced that bamboo is a super plant yet? I’m not done.
Bamboo is incredibly strong. The fibers of a bamboo culm are actually three times stronger than steel. In many cases steel is thought to be one of the most strong materials. However, bamboo proves steel-praisers wrong every time! Also, because the fibers are so strong, bamboo is much less likely to warp. If you were to leave a piece of wood in the climate that many bamboo structures are in, they would expand and warp very easily. But, bamboo keeps its shape better than many wood types.
Lastly, the bamboo industry is growing very fast, with this requires lots of labor. Nonetheless, the bamboo industry employs millions of workers in developing countries. This industry need planters, growers, harvesters, and builders. These jobs provide living wages to many people in the places that truly need it. It truly is a driver for the economy of many countries.
Now that you know how fantastic bamboo is, what do you do with this information? Support the bamboo industry! By buying bamboo instead of another material, you are allowing less land, water, and materials to be needed. You are supporting millions of families. You are cleansing the atmosphere. You are buying for quality. You are placing your vote on the Earth.
Common bamboo items include straws, cutting boards, cutlery, toothbrushes, hair brushes, bed sheets, pillows, clothing, furniture, decor and so many more. It is so versatile that you are sure to find some products that you need that are made with bamboo. Give it a try! Implement these small changes into your life to add up to a more sustainable future.
The majority of the facts in this post are from this Ted Talk.