Bamboo: The Sustainable and Eco-Friendly Plant | A Case For Plant Based
Since deciding to live a more sustainable lifestyle, bamboo has quickly become one of my most favorite things. From kitchen utensils and dish rags, to toothbrushes and cotton swabs, I’m obsessed with all things bamboo. But what makes bamboo so sustainable? And why is it eco-friendly?
Facts about Bamboo
- bamboo is the fastest growing plant on earth
- it is actually giant grass, not a tree
- there are approximately 1,500 different species of bamboo
- bamboo is a very adaptable plant and grows quickly
- on average, it grows 2 ¾ inches per day (and as much as 13–36 inches per day), depending on species and climate.
- reaches maturity in 1–5 years (compared to hardwood trees which mature in 30–40 years)
- bamboo grows all over the world, in all different climates
- it is edible (and not just for pandas!)
- the development of bamboo reduces pollution and purifies the air up to 30–35% more effectively than any other plant
- it is strong and durable (some bamboo poles are even stronger than steel)
- bamboo is a flexible building material
- zero waste: every single part of the bamboo can be utilized in some way
- bamboo is a natural antibacterial and antifungal
Why is Bamboo so Sustainable?
Bamboo can survive on lack of water (and needs far less water than a tree). In a drought, bamboo will curl up their leaves to protect them from the heat. After a few days, they will drop some of their leaves to self-mulch and reduce the amount of leaves needing hydration. Plus, these leaves are extremely nutrient-dense and those nutrients also feed surrounding plants.
In addition, bamboo is one of the best plants to use for soil stability and to prevent soil erosion.
It requires no chemicals, fertilizers, or pesticides to survive and thrive. (The discarded leaves mentioned above provide all of the necessary nutrients for the bamboo to survive).
Bamboo can be harvested and replenished without destroying the natural forest; there is no additional re-planting or cultivating required. The bamboo will continue to grow shoots from its root system.
Therefore, bamboo is one of the most sustainable and eco-friendly natural and renewable resources on the planet.
Is that bamboo toothbrush or set of bamboo bed sheets you’re about to buy actually sustainable? Maybe. Maybe not.
In order to turn a hearty and durable plant into things such as toilet paper and textiles, some sort of processing must take place. Have harsh chemicals been used? And how was the bamboo plant processed?
As always, when your focus is sustainability and eco-friendly products, it’s important to research the company you are buying from and their business practices.
Where do they grow the bamboo, and what are their growing practices? Do they use chemicals and pesticides? Have they performed deforestation in order to plant their bamboo farm? Do they utilize renewable and sustainable resources? How has the bamboo been processed and what chemicals were used? Also, where is it shipped from and is the packaging sustainable?
However, that being said, when bamboo products are compared to plastic products, overall bamboo is more sustainable and eco-friendly. Plastic is wreaking havoc on our planet, and we must cut down on plastic use as much as possible.
In fact, most bamboo can be composed (if it hasn’t been treated with chemicals). On the other hand, plastic can never be composted and only some plastic ends up being recycled.
Uses for Bamboo
There are approximately 1,500 documented uses for bamboo.
- furniture production
- paper making
- household items
- pharmaceutical applications
- food consumption
Bamboo: Sustainable and Eco-Friendly
When utilized responsibility-by reputable companies-bamboo is one of the most sustainable resources in the entire world. But, ensuring the bamboo products we purchase are eco-friendly and of the highest quality is up to each and every one of us.
Bamboo has the potential to protect our planet, provide a healthier life for all species, and reduce climate change. Now, we must let bamboo get to work for us.
For more sustainability tips, check out:
What types of bamboo products do you use? Were you surprised by how sustainable bamboo is? Let me know in the comments below!