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What’s So Green About Bamboo?

When it comes to trying to be green, consumers will be well aware of the need to cut down on plastic, especially single-use products, while making the most of natural materials like wood.

However, there are many other organic materials that can be used to create a greener world and eco bamboo products are very high up that list. To understand why this is, it helps to know what bamboo is and why it is so good.

Firstly, although bamboo is a hard material that looks and feels like wood, it is technically a grass. Indeed, this fact was raised a couple of year ago when someone invented a cricket bat made of bamboo, as the material would break the rule that the bat has to be made from wood (traditionally willow).

The fact it is a grass is not just a curiosity and a matter of the laws of cricket; it means the material behaves differently. For one thing, it grows very fast, up to 3.8 cm an hour in some cases, making it very easy to replenish compared to ‘sustainable’ woodlands.

In addition, it is very strong and durable, meaning bamboo products are less likely to be damaged or broken and therefore do not need replacing so frequently.

The biggest plus of all about bamboo is that, as a plant, it sucks up more carbon dioxide than most and produces more oxygen.

To balance this, there are a few environmental trade-offs with bamboo. Sometimes it is treated with chemicals, while large plantations can create local monocultures that deny a favourable environment to organisms that rely on other plants to provide a favourable habitat.

The latter, of course, can often happen with trees too, when a plantation is, for example, dominated by conifers. So this is not just a bamboo issue.

Notwithstanding these trade-offs, the overall benefits of bamboo make it a great material to use, especially as an alternative to introducing more plastic to the world.

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