Ah bamboo, the favorite snack of pandas all across the globe as well as one of the most environmentally friendly things on the planet. Bamboo is widely used for making sustainable furniture around the world, as well as a number of environmentally friendly products such as toilet paper and garbage bags. But why is bamboo eco friendly? What makes it so special to be called the “perfect alternative to trees”? In this post, we will be talking all about why bamboo is so popular as an eco friendly… well… thing!
What is bamboo?
Think you know everything there is to know about bamboo? They’re tall thin trees, right? Nope! Bamboo is actually a type of grass that has a tree-like structure, and there are over 1200 different species of bamboo in existence.
We see bamboos a lot around pandas so they’re probably grown more in the Asian region right? Wrong again! Bamboos are grown all around the globe, and although they thrive best in hot, humid regions, they are pretty adaptive to almost any temperature and can be grown almost anywhere on Earth.
Right then, let’s move on to why is bamboo considered so eco friendly by everyone…
Great for the environment
Before bamboo is even cut down and used for products, it already is contributing towards a greener environment. Bamboo can absorb as much as twice the amount of carbon dioxide as a regular tree and releases a considerable amount of oxygen in the process as well. Bamboo also helps keep the soil firm; with roots spreading like a web near the surface, it acts as an anchor to prevent soil from breaking away, which is especially useful on mountain slopes where the soil is prone to breaking away and causing massive landslides!
Takes very little time to grow
A normal tree may take up to 30 years before it is considered fully mature. Well, how long does bamboo take? Three years? Three months? How about three days! Sure, when you plant bamboo it does take about 3 years to spread its roots across the ground, but once it does it doesn’t stop growing; it is reported that a single bamboo tree can grow a foot long in a matter of hours.
If you chop bamboo off, no worries, it will still continue to grow and give you freshly grown, several feet long bamboo in a matter of weeks! Compare that to a regular pine tree which takes years to grow and once it gets chopped off it’s of no use at all, you’re literally saving hundreds of trees every year by using just a handful of bamboo instead.
Bamboo is extremely strong
You would think being a long, thin stick, bamboo would be fairly durable but still have a mediocre limit compared to other materials out there. What if I told you bamboo is considered even stronger than steel? That’s right! Bamboo has a tensile strength greater than that of even steel, and being much more lightweight (not to mention cheaper!), it is much more actively used in the construction of houses in rural as well as a few urban areas across the globe. It is also preferred as the material of choice for making durable furniture, which was previously done by chopping off trees that took ages to mature.
Bamboo has a natural antibacterial built-in
One thing that the pandemic has taught us is that you must always keep yourself clean and hygienic no matter where you are. Thankfully, bamboo has natural antibacterial properties built-in, which help keep harmful bacteria away allowing you to use your bamboo-based products for much longer periods. Antibacterial properties are the very reason bamboo is now being widely used to create delicate cutlery as well as straws. This sustainable, environmentally friendly cutlery has been known to last as long as 3 years and costs a mere fraction of your average silverware (which by the way is made from metal, a scarce resource).
Over the past few years, bamboo has gained massive popularity for being the “savior of trees”, and after seeing so many benefits that it brings along for the environment, you can understand why bamboo is regarded as one of the greatest eco friendly materials of all time. Being used for a number of things ranging from soft, delicate products such as toilet paper to giant structures such as rooftops, switching to a more environmentally friendly lifestyle is now easier than ever before. The question is, when will you? 🙂