Is bamboo really sustainable?

Bamboo manages to reach a size of around 35 meters in just 6 months. The plant thus produces more usable wood than native trees such as oak. In addition, the bamboo has extreme stability and hardness. The reason for this is the enormous amount of silica.

Bamboo is one of the fastest growing plants. Some species grow by around one meter a day. 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 just 6 months. The plant thus produces more usable wood than native trees such as oak. In addition, the bamboo has extreme stability and hardness. The reason for this is the enormous amount of silica.

The plant hardens to its final hardness in around 7 years 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 advantages can we humans use from this unique plant??

Bamboo can grow (almost) anywhere

This unique plant grows and thrives in a zone that extends from the 40th parallel in the south to the 40th parallel in the north of the equator. This makes the bamboo a tropical or subtropical plant, but some of the species also occur in colder areas (for example in the Himalayas).

The plant is native to all continents except Antarctica and Europe, but it can also grow here with us. There are around 1,400 species of bamboo worldwide. In China alone, for example, around 500 species grow, in Japan there are around 100 varieties, most of which are slightly smaller. The bamboo is mostly only cultivated 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 wasn't until the middle of the 19th century that bamboo came to Europe. The plant was imported from Japan and China, but can also grow wonderfully here.

The fact that the bamboo can grow almost anywhere and extremely quickly naturally results in a high level of sustainability for the material.

Fast growing raw material

Bamboo grows extremely quickly (up to one meter per day), which is why a large amount of the plant can be felled annually without the population being reduced to such an extent that it would be endangered. This means that bamboo is a very sustainable raw material.

Most types of bamboo have extensive root systems. New plants always grow back from these. Felling a stalk does not kill the entire plant, as is the case with most other tree species.

Due to this rapid growth, bamboo also stores a lot of CO2, significantly more than our conventional trees. Only a few pesticides or fertilizers are used in the cultivation of the plant, as bamboo is considered to be extremely robust and resistant. The dense and widespread root systems stop erosion, another of the many reasons why bamboo is sustainable and good for the environment.

Our wood industry also raves about the raw material, because the properties of the material are unique. Because bamboo wood is very dense, flexible and resistant, durable and robust products can be made.

Bamboo better than plastic?

Bamboo is definitely better than plastic.

The plant can serve as a substitute for plastic and is the starting material for so-called bioplastics. Plastic is usually made from petroleum. In contrast, however, bamboo is a renewable resource.

The extraction of bamboo is also significantly less risky than is the case with crude oil. Since bamboo is also biodegradable, there is another significant advantage over most plastics.

From an ecological point of view, bamboo also leaves its mark, because we have to import the raw material from Asia or Africa. However, when you consider the damage plastic and its production means for the environment, this import is in no way comparable.

Bamboo in everyday life

In our everyday life, too, bamboo is much more sustainable than plastic could ever be.

We can already find clothes, toothbrushes, boxes, packaging material etc. made from bamboo. With these products, sustainability already reaches our everyday life without us always being aware of it.

Generating as little waste as possible, the so-called zero waste is the trend. Not only environmentalists and vegans are happy about this fact, because more and more people are becoming aware of the extent of waste and how we treat our environment. It was always clear to me myself, but it was only recently that it really settled in my brain.m.

With everyday products made from bamboo, such as toothbrushes, household waste can be reduced. Islands made of plastic waste in the world's oceans and growing mountains of rubbish on land are becoming more and more common. With these everyday products made of bamboo, the step in the right direction has been taken and people also enjoy products that are usually much more durable and robust.

And, bamboo is sustainable?

Bamboo is sustainable, that's for sure, because:

  • Bamboo grows very quickly (up to one meter per day)
  • The bamboo plant does not die when harvested, but grows again
  • Bamboo produces 35% more oxygen than traditional trees
  • The robustness and resilience make bamboo universally applicable
  • Bamboo is an infinite resource
  • Bamboo does not cause waste but can be completely biodegraded

In our everyday life, bamboo is found in more and more products. The raw material can now be used in a variety of ways and the environment is 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.

Because bamboo is completely biodegradable, it protects our planet in contrast to conventional plastic. Due to the rapid growth of bamboo, we do not need to worry about its occurrence or the existence. Even textiles, toilet paper and many other everyday products are already made from bamboo and brought to individual households.

So bamboo is sustainable in the truest sense and definitely the material of the future!

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