Is Bamboo Really Sustainable?
Bamboo is one of the fastest growing plants. Some species reach a growth of about one meter daily. This means that sustainable bamboo produces an above-average amount of biomass and oxygen, more than any other plant on our planet.
Bamboo manages to reach a size of around 35 meters in only 6 months. The plant thus produces more usable wood than native trees such as the oak. In addition, bamboo has extreme stability and hardness. The reason for this is the enormous amount of silica.
In about 7 years, the plant hardens to its final hardness and is clearly harder than most conventional types of wood. The tensile strength is even higher than steel!
But how sustainable is bamboo and what benefits can we humans of the unique plant use?
Bamboo can grow (almost) everywhere
This unique plant grows and grows in a zone stretching from the 40th latitude in the south to the 40th latitude in the north of the equator. Thus, the bamboo is a tropical or subtropical plant, some of whose species but also in the colder area (for example, in the Himalayas) occur.
The plant is native to all continents except the Antarctic and Europe, but here with us, it can grow. There are around 1,400 bamboo species worldwide. In China alone, for example, about 500 species grow, in Japan, there are about 100 varieties, which are usually grown slightly smaller. The bamboo is usually cultivated only in Asia and Africa (especially Ethiopia).
In Australia and South America, where there are also some varieties, it has a rather low economic importance. It was not until the middle of the 19th century that bamboo came to Europe. The plant was imported from Japan and China, but can also grow here wonderfully.
The fact that the bamboo can grow almost everywhere and extremely fast naturally results in high sustainability of the material.
Fast growing raw material
Bamboo grows extremely fast (up to a meter per day), so a large amount of the plant can be felled annually without reducing the stock so that it would be at risk. This means that bamboo is a very sustainable resource.
Most bamboo species have large root systems. From these always new plants grow. Thus, by cutting a straw, not the entire plant dies, as with most other tree species.
Thanks to this rapid growth, bamboo also stores a lot of CO2, much more than our conventional trees. Even when planting the plant only a few pesticides or fertilizers are used because bamboo is considered extremely robust and resistant. The dense and widespread root systems halt erosion, another of the many reasons why bamboo is sustainable and good for the environment.
Even our wood industry raves about the raw material because the properties of the material are unique. The fact that bamboo wood is very dense, flexible and resistant, durable and robust products can be made.
Bamboo better than plastic?
Bamboo is better than plastic in any case.
The plant can serve as a substitute for plastic and is the starting material for the so-called bioplastics. Plastic is usually made from petroleum. In contrast, bamboo is a renewable resource.
The extraction of bamboo is also much less risky than is the case with crude oil. In addition, since bamboo is biodegradable again, there is another major advantage over most plastics.
Ecologically, bamboo also leaves its mark, because we have to import the raw material from Asia or Africa. However, if one considers what damage plastic and its production to the environment means, this import is in no comparison.
Bamboo in everyday life
Even in our everyday lives, bamboo is much more sustainable than plastic could ever be.
We already find clothes, toothbrushes, boxes, packaging material, etc. made of bamboo. With these products, sustainability already reaches our everyday lives without us always consciously remembering.
To produce as little garbage as possible, the so-called “Zero-waste” is in vogue. Not only environmentalists and vegans are pleased with this fact because more and more people are aware of the extent of waste and how we deal with our environment. Although this has always been clear to me, it has only recently set in the brain.
With everyday products made of bamboo, such as the toothbrush, the garbage burden of individual households can be reduced. Plastic garbage islands in the oceans and growing garbage piles on land are becoming ever more common. With these everyday bamboo products, the step in the right direction has been taken and people are also enjoying products that are usually much more durable and robust.
And, is bamboo sustainable?
Bamboo is sustainable, that’s for sure, because:
- Bamboo grows very fast (up to one meter per day)
- The bamboo plant does not die off when harvesting but grows again
- Bamboo produces 35% more oxygen than conventional trees
- The robustness and durability makes bamboo universally applicable
- Bamboo is an infinite resource
- Bamboo does not cause garbage but can be completely biodegraded
In our everyday life, bamboo is found in more and more products. The raw material is now versatile and already the environment enormous.
Even everyday products such as toothbrushes can benefit from the properties of the plant. The plant stands for sustainability, but also for robustness, endurance, and longevity.
By being completely biodegradable, bamboo protects our planet from conventional plastic. Due to the rapid growth of bamboo, we also need not worry about its occurrence or the stock. Even textiles, toilet paper, and many other everyday products are already made from bamboo and brought into individual households.
Bamboo is therefore in the truest sense sustainable and certainly the material of the future!