In recent years, bamboo products have been rearing their heads with promises of a lighter impact on the planet. How true are these claims? We’re investigating how sustainable bamboo is, and what products you can easily switch into your everyday life.
Why Use Bamboo?
There are many reasons why bamboo is sustainable and such a popular material in the world of eco-friendly products. It is one of those eco-friendly materials which has a lighter impact on the planet. It is used to make fabrics, bamboo toilet paper, and a whole host of eco-friendly products. Some of the reasons why bamboo is sustainable include:
1. Bamboo is Fast Growing
Bamboo is actually grass, not a tree. Its plants can reach full growth in as few as 3 months, rather than the 30 years it takes other trees. This makes bamboo a sustainable resource since it can be regrown as quickly as it is used up. This is a benefit bamboo has over hardwoods that can take decades to grow let alone over plastics which are made from a rapidly depleting oil supply.
2. No Chemicals Required
Another great reason why bamboo is sustainable is that it doesn’t need pesticides and fertilisers to grow. These chemicals that other crops and materials may require to grow properly can enter the natural water supply. This can cause algae blooms in rivers and lakes which harms aquatic plant and animal life. Without the use of these chemicals, the bamboo plant still grows, and other natural life isn’t impacted.
3. Bamboo Regrows From Its Roots
When harvested, the roots of the bamboo plant remain intact and the plant re-grows from the roots. Bamboo is sustainable because once it has been planted it can be used again and again. This is because it doesn’t need to be replanted, and the soil doesn’t get disturbed. The way the soil and roots can be left alone also improves the structure of the soil which is important in areas susceptible to heavy rains and flooding. That’s just another reason why bamboo is sustainable.
4. Bamboo Absorbs Greenhouse Gases
Another reason bamboo is sustainable is that it can absorb carbon dioxide and produce oxygen. Carbon dioxide is a gas known as a greenhouse gas. Other greenhouse gases include methane, nitrous oxide, water vapour, and fluorinated gases.
These gases form an insulating layer around the planet and trap heat from the sun. This is known as the greenhouse effect because it mirrors the way greenhouses trap heat to grow certain plants. Bamboo is a natural material which can absorb as much as 12 tonnes of carbon dioxide per hectare per year. This helps to remove greenhouse gases from the environment, and replace it with essential oxygen.
5. Bamboo is Naturally Antibacterial
Bamboo fibres are antibacterial thanks to an antimicrobial bio-agent called bamboo kun which appears naturally in the plant. It is believed that the antibacterial properties are retained when bamboo is turned into fabric. However, investigations into this idea are ongoing. Antibacterial materials are more sustainable as they require cleaning less often which could help to reduce water and chemical usage. If these claims are true, it means bamboo is sustainable when used by eco fashion brands.
6. Bamboo Has Many Uses
Bamboo is sustainable and extremely versatile. This means that, once harvested, less of it needs to go to waste. It is gentle enough to make baby’s nappies and strong enough to build roads! Bamboo bridges have been built in China which can support 16 tonne trucks. According to UNESCO, 1,000 bamboo houses can be built from just 70 hectares of bamboo crop! Bamboo can also be used in cooking; both for flavour and as a preservative, and of course pandas sustain themselves on it too (though they eat a different kind!).
What Can You Make with Bamboo?
A better question might be what can’t you make with sustainable bamboo! As a viable alternative to lots of everyday materials, many brands are embracing the fact that bamboo is sustainable in a bid to reduce the impact we have on the planet. Whether it be your toothbrush, face pads, or toilet roll, next time you have to replace your toiletries, try some eco-friendly bathroom essentials.
Sustainable bamboo doesn’t have to be boring though, it can be used to make some more stylish products too! Companies such as Wild Case are using bamboo’s sustainable attributes to create sleek and eco-friendly phone cases. These cases allow you to protect your phone and the planet at the same time.
If working out more and being more environmentally friendly are two of your goals for 2022, then eco-friendly activewear brands such as Bam can help you kill two birds with one stone! Not only is their sportswear comfy, trendy and 100% recyclable, but supposedly the antibacterial property of the bamboo helps fight odour allowing you to work out harder without smelling!
There is no need for our favourite four legged friends to miss out on the sustainable bamboo fun either. Eco-friendly pet essentials are becoming available from companies such as Beco Pets who use bamboo to make their pet bowls. By opting for products such as these, you can look after your pet at home whilst also helping to look after the homes of animals in the wild.
The Future Is Bamboo
Bamboo products are popping up more and more and as far as we can tell this seems to be no bad thing! What’s more, with creations such as eco-friendly AirPods cases appearing on the market, sustainable bamboo is keeping up with the modern times. Sourcing more bamboo products isn’t the only way to help reduce your impact on the environment.
Whether you’re looking for vegan skincare, alternatives to fast fashion, or find yourself a new pair of sustainable sneakers, making the switch doesn’t have to be difficult! Discover more ways to shop consciously with The One Edit.