The term eco-friendly often describes materials, products, or practices that cause little to no harm to the environment.
One that gets associated with the term “eco-friendly” often is bamboo.
We know that bamboo is a sustainable natural resource and it offers a variety of benefits. But what exactly makes bamboo eco-friendly?
As it turns out, there are quite a lot of reasons, some of which you might be hearing for the first time.
Below are twelve undeniable reasons that make bamboo eco-friendly.
1. Bamboo is Easy to Grow
The first reason why bamboo is eco-friendly is because it is very easy to grow.
As you might already know, bamboo is a type of grass, so it can survive on almost all kinds of soil.
There’s no need to destroy natural habitats or clear forest areas with rich soil to plant bamboo.
Bamboo also doesn’t require plenty of water. So even in drier lands, bamboo farms can thrive even without water irrigation systems.
But it gets better.
Unlike other crops that people cultivate for personal or commercial use, growing bamboo doesn’t need much care or attention.
For instance, one doesn’t need machines to plow the fields or clear weeds to plant bamboo. Hence, no fossil fuel burning is necessary.
Furthermore, bamboo doesn’t need fertilizers. Many plant fertilizers today contain chemicals and petroleum-based products that can pollute the environment.
2. Bamboos are Fast Growing Plants
Did you know that the Guinness World Record holder for the fastest growing plant is a species of bamboo?
In general, bamboos are among the fastest-growing plants globally, which makes it a highly sustainable raw material.
For example, you can harvest bamboo in just 3 to 5 years.
Compare that to harvesting timber from a tree, which you can only do sometime in 35 to 45 years.
So even if there is a high demand for bamboo, the plant can replenish itself fast enough that deforestation is less likely. And we don’t need to tell you how harmful deforestation is to our planet.
Another thing that makes bamboo a highly renewable and sustainable material is, you don’t have to replant bamboo after harvesting it. It will regrow.
Moreover, harvesting bamboo doesn’t cause soil erosion and nutrient cycling disturbance in the soil.
3. Harvesting Without Heavy Machinery
Harvesting bamboo is usually done by manual labor and requires only simple sharp tools like a saw, a small axe, or bolo.
No fossil-fueled machines are needed to harvest bamboo in most cases.
Moreover, bamboo is not very heavy, so transporting it leaves lesser carbon footprint.
In remote areas, bamboos are even transported using farm animals like cows or horses.
Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for materials like timber or cotton, which often require big hauling trucks and heavy machinery.
4. Have you Heard of “Bamboo Kun?”
We bet you already heard that bamboo has a natural antibacterial property, often referred to as “bamboo Kun.”
Bamboo Kun gives bamboo the ability to fight off pests, bugs, and bacteria naturally.
This is why bamboos can survive in the wild without the aid of insecticides, pesticides, and herbicides made of chemicals that might harm the environment.
5. Bamboo Is Biodegradable
Bamboo, like all-natural plants, is biodegradable. This doesn’t need much explanation.
And products made of bamboo won’t stay in landfills for thousands of years (unlike plastic) after being thrown away.
Bamboo can also be recycled, repurpose, reused, or put into the compost.
6. Bamboo Helps Reduce Greenhouse Gases
One obvious reason that makes bamboo eco-friendly is that it helps absorb harmful carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air and produces clean, breathable oxygen.
Carbon dioxide is one of the most common greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change and global warming.
And there’s more!
A bamboo forest can produce up to 35% more oxygen than a tree forest of the same mass.
7. Great Alternative to Plastic
Pollution from plastic waste is becoming a significant issue of our time, and there’s no doubt that eco-friendly alternatives like bamboo products can help save our planet.
Bamboo products are excellent replacements for single-use plastic products that are quickly piling up in landfills and the ocean.
A wide variety of bamboo products are now circulating the market, and they are becoming more popular each passing day for this apparent reason.
For example, bamboo straws, toothbrushes, apparels, water bottles, bed sheets, combs, and others are slowly replacing common plastic products.
In general, bamboo products are biodegradable, sustainable, and have a lesser negative impact on the environment.
8. Bamboo Fabric is a Good alternative to Cotton Fabric
Overall, bamboo fabric emerged as a more eco-friendly alternative to cotton.
- Bamboo is much easier to grow and cultivate than cotton.
- It doesn’t need as much water as cotton to survive.
- The cotton industry is responsible for more than 10% of pesticide consumption and about 25% of the world’s insecticide usage. Chemicals from pesticides and insecticides can harm the environment.
- Harvesting bamboo doesn’t kill the plant, nor uprooting is required.
- It can be harvested using minimal machinery that requires fossil-fuels to operate.
However, we would like to mention that not all bamboo fabric is eco-friendly because some of them undergo dirty manufacturing processes.
Most “eco-friendly” bamboo labels you see on the market lacks integrity.
9. Bamboo is a Great Alternative to Wood
Ever wonder why more and more wood products are slowly getting replaced by bamboo?
It’s not just toilet paper, but even kitchen utensils, cutleries, packaging, furniture, and more.
When compared to wood (or timber), bamboos are easier to grow and take a shorter time to harvest.
When appropriately harvested, one bamboo plant can become a timber source indefinitely, while you can only cut a tree once.
Bamboo is also a cheaper raw material than wood.
10. Good Source Of Food
Bamboo shoots can be consumed by humans and can be used for livestock.
Instead of always relying on processed foods, a meal from bamboo can help you save money and the environment.
11. Good source of Building Materials
Bamboo is a durable and sturdy material.
In fact, the engineering community found that bamboo is stronger than steel in terms of tensile strength (resistance of materials to breaking under tension).
For a long time, people are using bamboo as a cheap and eco-friendly alternative to timber and concrete for reinforcements in buildings and construction sites.
12. Bamboo Create Jobs
Finally, the bamboo industry helps provide economic growth in less developed regions. Now, you might be wondering how does this makes bamboo eco-friendly?
People with no jobs are given means of income by bamboo manufacturing companies and are encouraged to plant bamboo to earn money.
The same people might have gotten involved in livelihoods that damage the environment to make both ends meet.
Examples are dynamite fishing or cutting trees illegally in the forest to sell timber.
Can bamboo save the planet? Only time will tell.
But is bamboo eco-friendly? We believe so for the following reasons:
- Bamboos are easy to grow and don’t need fertilizers
- It is a sustainable raw material
- Harvesting bamboo doesn’t involve heavy machinery
- Bamboo doesn’t require pesticides or insecticides
- It is biodegradable
- Bamboo helps reduce greenhouse gases (GHG)
- It is an excellent alternative to plastic
- Bamboo is more eco-friendly than cotton
- It is a more sustainable material than wood
- The bamboo plant offers plenty of benefits to human beings and the environment alike
And while it’s true that this plant might not check all the eco-friendly boxes…
There’s no doubt that the benefits it offers to the environment qualify bamboo to bear the title of being eco-friendly.
Would you agree? Why or why not?