Bamboo is one of the most common materials used for producing plastic-free products. Although, many people question its popularity referring to pandas, deforestation and other environmental impacts of bamboo cultivation. According to this, we decided to talk about all the differences and circumstances of growing bamboo and wood, and thus help make more responsible and conscious decisions for everyone.
Bamboo is the new plastic
Bamboo is getting more and more popular today, similar to plastic many years ago. It is the best alternative for plastic thanks to its durability, easy formability and long life. Unlike plastic, bamboo does not last forever, but is 100% compostable which means they get back to nature’s cycle after getting worn out.
Along with all these benefits, some misconceptions and misbeliefs also spread, just like that purchasing bamboo products endangers the natural habitat of pandas. However, the truth is that the bamboo pandas eat and the one that is used for production are two different type of bamboos growing in two different areas. Hence, there is no reason to worry about pandas.
Bamboo or wood?
There are some indispensable facts and viewpoints to take into consideration before deciding between bamboo or wood.
First of all, trees are getting cut at the age of 20-50 after reaching their suitable condition for logging. This means that after cutting all the trees, an additional 30 years is required to get wood again from that area.
In contrast, bamboo is getting harvested in every 2-4 years when reaching the right condition, which generally happens within 2-6 years depending on the species.
Another important thing is that while the roots of trees die after felling and emit harmful coal, rhizomes of bamboo does not die and is therefore capable of producing new growth without releasing any damaging by-products and causing soil-erosion. Thanks to this, bamboo can be logged more often than wood in more eco-friendly circumstances, and is a great solution to revitalize used lands.
Finally, felling and transporting trees require to use large machines and tons of fossil fuel, while bamboo can be harvested by hand or with smaller equipment. Besides this, thanks to its rapid growth and the possibility of cutting it in stages, bamboo helps absorb about 12 tons of carbon-dioxide and returns 35% more oxygen to air than any other similar wooded areas. On top, bamboo uses a huge amount of nitrogen for growing, thus helping reduce water pollution.
Dangers of bamboo cultivation
Bamboo cultivation has been spreading and growing fast in the past few years. Unfortunately, new ways of using bamboo has grown due to the high population growth, which has led to the exploitation of existing, naturally grown bamboo fields. Consequently, there are strict regulations for bamboo cultivation and in certain countries, it has been banned.
For this reason, the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certification is essential, which grants that the product originates from forestry where biodiversity and ecological balance are both assured.
All things considered, opting for bamboo can promote the slowdown of tropical deforestation, preserve biodiversity and absorb huge amount of carbon in the long run – our responsibility is only to stay conscious and choose well. As a first step towards that, visit our webshop and check out all bamboo products.
(Source: New Bamboo Industries and Pro-Poor Impacts: Lessons from China and Potential for Mekong Countries, FAO 2006)