Bamboo is one of the most popular grasses all over the world. People know bamboo as renewable and one of the best sustainable resources that can be used to produce various materials. Today, the most common use of this material is the manufacture of different types of furniture for business. The furniture industry has started replacing materials such as mahogany, hardwood lumbers, and cedars with bamboo because it offers better quality and range. 

The use of bamboo is not only limited to furniture like chairs, blinds, décor, panels, division, and other furniture sets. This material is also widely used as a structural component for textiles and building houses. Bamboo may even be used and developed as a source of food. This versatile wood has long been utilized as a construction material because it is sturdy and durable.  

Due to the durability and strength of bamboo, it is incorporated in suspension bridges and other architectural projects and arts in China, Japan, and Southeast Asia. Not only this material is strong, but bamboos also offer aesthetics that are indeed pleasing to the eyes of the people.  

Its art, design, and appearance are deemed to be unique and nice to look at according to Chinese history. Because of this trend, people from different parts of the world have acquired the use of bamboo. 

History 

The origin of the subfamily of bamboo is from the plant family of Poaceae and comes with different groups of genera. It is one of the fastest-growing plants in the whole world. Along with its rapid growth rate, this plant is low maintenance and can easily be grown. The stems of bamboos are hollow and their leaves display a bright green color. 

Even if one cuts the bamboo, it can continue growing afterward due to its reliable roots planted under the ground known as rhizomes. A rhizome is a good underground root system that helps with the stability of bamboos. After trimming, it produces bamboo poles, otherwise known as “culms.” A culm is more commonly called a bamboo shoot.  

Bamboo stands around the height of 24 inches tall every day, but it has the potential to grow further. Its approximate diameter as thick as 250 to 300 millimeters. Due to the rapid growth and development of this plant, it can easily be produced and acquired. This beats the stress of having to grow and produce other hardwoods like cedars that take as long as 40 years to mature.  

Even though this plant is commonly associated with tropical and temperate climates, it can be grown in other climates and regions as well. Due to the increasing demand for strong and durable hardwoods, manufacturers have shifted to the use of bamboo plants as an alternative. Today, it is also used for fencing, slats, and even for a cane. 

Is Bamboo Environmental-Friendly? 

One-time use of plastics is among one of the worst contributors to trash all over the world. A number of these single-use materials only end up in the bodies of water. You can find these materials in rivers and oceans, and some plastics end up in landfills. Only a small percentage of this material is being reused and recycled.  

It was also predicted by scientists that when we reach the year 2050, there are going to be more plastic materials in the bodies of water than fishes and marine life. Each one of us should take these facts based on science and research seriously and start to take action and make a difference to save the ocean and our environment. By simply switching to more sustainable products and avoiding the use of plastics, we can show change. 

Bamboo is environmentally friendly compared to other materials and here are some reasons: 

Bamboo Absorbs Carbon Dioxide 

As we all know, plants tend to absorb the carbon dioxide present in the air. Hence, trees have a vital role in the reduction of carbon present in the atmosphere. Not only the size of the tree matters in the absorption of carbon dioxide. Recently, it was also found that a tree or plant’s growth rate is also an important factor.  

Since bamboo grows at a fast rate in just a short span, it tends to absorb more carbon dioxide in the air. Bamboo plants also release approximately 30% more oxygen when compared to other trees and plants. Hence, bamboo also produces more oxygen for the atmosphere.  

Bamboo Has Anti-Microbial Properties 

The natural antibacterial properties that emerge with this plant help hinder the growth of unwanted microorganisms like bacteria and fungi. When bamboo is used as utensils and cutleries, no special chemical treatments are needed to be done. The final product that will be produced is naturally safe and hygienic.  

Bamboo Maintains Biodiversity 

Aside from absorbing more carbon dioxide present in the atmosphere and releasing a greater amount of oxygen, bamboo plants also help maintain biodiversity. The presence of bamboo forests provides a home for animals in the environment and the bamboo shoots and even the stem can also be a source of food for some species.  

A bamboo grove also enhances the stability of the soil that lessens the chances of landslides or land erosions that can endanger lives. By planting more bamboo plants whether in the forest or your garden, the damaging impact of deforestation happening can be lessened.  

Is Bamboo Fabric Bad for the Environment? 

After harvesting bamboo plants, they can now be turned into bamboo fabric. Multiple manufacturers have started to use this material because it produces soft and absorbent cloth that can be utilized for the production of shirts, towels, sheets, and even reusable diapers.  

In case you are wondering if fabrics made of bamboo are harmful to the environment, the answer may have some pertinent pros and cons. First, bamboo grows faster than other plants, so it is considered environment-friendly, renewable, and sustainable.  

However, the mass cultivation of bamboo plants for the manufacture of fabrics and other materials can lead to various environmental problems. To process bamboo plants, they undergo to become fabric are greatly invasive and involves the usage of large amounts of chemicals.  

To produce bamboo fabric, the plant is transformed either mechanically or chemically into a pulp that will eventually be made into fibers. The harsh process of turning bamboo plants into fibers is a constant threat to the environment, especially to the individuals residing near the production site.  

Dangerous chemicals are involved, and when improperly handled, can lead to health issues and environmental damage. However, the bamboo industry ensures a thorough screening process for their products to prevent this damage from occurring.  

Is Bamboo More Sustainable Than Plastic? 

Plastic is one of the most used instruments in society today because it offers a lot of advantages. It can be cheaply produced, and it is versatile and durable. However, it causes a lot of impact on our lives and the environment as well. A person who uses more plastic tends to produce more plastic.  

Generally, plastics take around 20 to 500 years to decompose. After being thrown, it just accumulates in the environment. We can see this material scattered everywhere and if not properly disposed of, it even reaches different bodies of water.  

This cycle must be put to a stop and bamboo is a great substitute for plastics because it is more sustainable and renewable. Bamboo grasses can also have a lot of applications in our lives. 

Why Is Bamboo Sustainable? 

With minimal energy for production and consumption, manufacturers and the general audience choose bamboo for a healthier world. Here are some reasons why bamboo plants are more sustainable: 

Bamboo Only Requires Minimal Energy for Processing 

Unlike the amount of energy needed to produce plastics, bamboos only need minimal energy. No special treatment is needed for it to grow, and there is no need to rush its growth because the plant itself grows at a rapid rate. In case it needs to be manufactured for textile products or architectural materials, it only requires few steps to be utilized. 

Bamboo Grows at A Rapid Rate 

Unlike the majority of trees that take more than 20 years to fully grow and be used for different materials, bamboo plants can grow into their full size in just a period of 3 to 4 months. After 3 to 5 years, it can now be harvested to be transformed into different forms of materials. Since its growing conditions are better than the others, it can easily keep up with the demand of the public without having to experience a real shortage. 

Bamboo Is Cost-Effective 

Since this plant grows at a rapid rate, it is deemed cheaper than other hardwoods available. Because of its growth rate, the manufacturers are ensured of its abundant and constant supply. Its price will always be reasonable because its supply is constant, even if there is an increase in demand. The production cost of this plant is also lower when compared to other materials. 

Why Is Bamboo Better Than Wood? 

When compared, both materials have their advantages and disadvantages. Both can be utilized as supporting materials for different purposes, but here are some reasons why bamboo is far better than wood: 

  • Its strength and durability help provide stability to the structure. 
  • Bamboo plants are easier to handle, cut, and maintain. No sophisticated tools are needed for this particular plant. 
  • The hollow, circular style of this plant makes it a light material that can easily be handled, stored, and transported. 
  • Its fiber composition permits the user to cut it easily even with the use of simple manual tools. 
  • No polishing, painting, or scraping is needed because of its naturally clean and smooth surface. 
  • It provides good service to most of the projects that provide customer satisfaction. 

What Are the Disadvantages of Bamboo? 

Just like any other materials, bamboo also has its disadvantages. Here are some cons that may make you think twice about using this material: 

  • Bamboo plants have poor resistance against microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi. 
  • It can easily be attacked by insects, so treatment must be done to protect it that may or may not be costly. 
  • This material may shrink greater when compared to other woody materials that lead to structural insufficiency.  
  • Bamboo plants tend to absorb the water easily. In turn, this causes curing and casting of the concrete materials used.  

What Are the Disadvantages of Bamboo Fabric? 

When used as a fabric, bamboo plants also have their disadvantages. Here are some: 

  • Just like its tendency to shrink when used as flooring, the bamboo fabric also tends to shrink when compared to cotton.  
  • Bamboo fabric requires a more tedious and careful process of laundering because of its delicate material. 
  • The fabric tends to be less durable when compared to other fabrics, such as cotton.  
  • Since it is absorbent, it may provide good areas for the growth of microorganisms.  

Final Thoughts 

Bamboo plants are generally the best renewable and sustainable material that can be used to replace hardwood and plastic materials. It is very versatile and can be transformed into new materials and be put to good use without actually having to create additional damage our environment is already experiencing.  

Every one of us should learn how to take care of our environment, and the use of bamboo-derived materials today is one step to healing the world.

REFERENCES:

https://barevida.com/blogs/news/why-is-bamboo-eco-friendly

https://www.euronews.com/green/2020/11/30/bamboo-eco-friendly-fabric-or-environmental-disaster

https://www.treehugger.com/is-bamboo-fabric-sustainable

https://boonboo.com/blogs/news/8-reasons-why-bamboo-is-the-best-alternative-to-plastic

https://www.guaduabamboo.com/blog/advantages-of-building-with-bamboo

About The Author

May can usually be found reading an eco magazine absorbed in the latest gripping articles on all things eco! May is passionate about the environment. May believes in looking and feeling good whilst living an eco friendly lifestyle. In her spare time she loves cooking, playing her guitar and going for country walks. May lives in the UK and enjoys spending time with friends, family and her two adorable cats.

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