Panda's Love Bamboo - Find Out Why You Should Too
Why You Should Switch
We love bamboo. So much so that we have launched a brand new collection focussed wholly on its sustainability! It is the sustainable material of the moment - but why? How sustainable is bamboo really? That, is the question we posed ourselves to decide if bamboo was a material worthy of our sustainable superheroes!
We waded through the nonsense and read the multitudes of articles so you don't have to - from news stories, to discussion articles and even a peer reviewed journal article on the subject of its sustainability. Let us bring them all together and highlight why it's time you start considering bamboo as an awesome plastic-free alternative around your home! Let's get into it...
① Bamboo is the fastest growing plant on earth.
They grow almost frantically fast. Would you believe that bamboo can grow to full size, which is on average about 30 metres, in just 3-4 MONTHS 😱 To put this into perspective, most trees take 30+ YEARS to reach their full height. You’d think they’re in a hurry. We could hardly believe it when researching but that’s the least of it - in the right conditions, bamboo can grow 3 feet tall in 24 HOURS! If the sun is just right, and the soil is just moist enough but not overly, you could literally sit and watch it grow. You know, if you’re ever in the jungle and have a free day (note to self: do this).
The sheer speed at which it operates makes it surely one of the most sustainable resources on the planet. Farmers can harvest one batch and plant another (or in many cases not even have to replant as it grows again from its cutting off point) with a relatively quick turnaround in comparison to regular logging which comes with the added caveat of the absolute decimation of biodiversity and habitats.
② Bamboo is great for biodiversity and wildlife.
🐼 Giant pandas love it (as you can see 👉👉). While they are the most famous eaters of bamboo, it is in fact relied upon by a variety of curiously unique wildlife including the mountain gorilla, the lemurs of Madagascar and even tiny bats! With every leap in awareness of the power of bamboo as a plastic alternative, these weird and wonderful species gain more protection from endangerment, providing them with an abundance of homes and food.
③ Call it ‘Green Steel’ - it’s strong and versatile.
Often nicknamed ‘green steel’ for its outright strength when compared to other plant-based materials, it is extremely robust in terms of how it can be grown and in its application once ready to be farmed. Despite its lightweight, its brute strength and lifespan make it the perfect material across developing nations in constructing homes. For example, in Colombia, bamboo is used instead of concrete in earthquake zones as it bends with the tremors and will not collapse under the pressure of natural hazards.
Its versatility meanwhile allows for applications in kitchenware, and as a general plastic replacement (explored further, later). When it comes to planting bamboo - it can be grown under the most treacherous of areas, in almost any kind of soil; on slopes, hills and otherwise difficult areas where traditional trees cannot grow or be forested. It requires little attention to grow (no chemicals required here) and can be left unattended to thrive until due for harvest.
④ Bamboo is a natural, organic, biodegradable, renewable resource.
Where plastic is responsible for destruction to the environment and wildlife (as we highlight further in our article on plastic v silicone), bamboo gives back. It’s grown naturally, without the need for nasty pesticides and chemicals which would otherwise detract biodiversity. It doesn’t require overt irrigation systems. It grows from the ground meaning it can be returned there and composted. As it is biodegradable, recycling is not required in a traditional sense so less energy is used there too.
Environmentally speaking, it’s great for rainforests as it helps mitigate the destruction and deforestation of tropical areas, providing a natural replacement to the harvest of tropical hardwood. In terms of its contribution to mitigating climate change, bamboo forests are incredible warriors. Known as ‘carbon sinks’ due to their ability to absorb 2 times more carbon dioxide (CO2) than regular trees, bamboo stores carbon efficiently and generates vast amounts of Oxygen - up to 30% more than other sources. Due to their strong roots they can even help stabilize soil, thus preventing landslides!
⑤ Bamboo can replace a host of plastics.
As we are introducing with The Bamboo Collection, bamboo can be transformed into replacements for a variety of plastic and otherwise disposable or unsustainable materials. For launch, we have chosen to initially offer bamboo alternatives to disposable plastic cutlery, plastic straws, plastic toothbrushes and plastic handled makeup brushes. Plates, bowls and more are sure to follow soon...
⑥ Bamboo can help reduce poverty in the developing world.
Thriving among moist soil in sheltered yet sunny spots, bamboo grows at its best in tropical and subtropical regions; most abundantly across Asia, though it can be grown anywhere in the world so long as it is not constantly wet or extremely dry. Most often, it is farmed among countries in the developing world where their economies can be reliant on the harvesting of bamboo. China alone is responsible for 44,000-70,000 square kilometres of bamboo forest, with annual production totalling one third of global bamboo cultivation and manufacture. Due to the increased awareness and desire across the western world to choose sustainable methods and products (a notion we are aiming to encourage and make more transparent to the unaware majority), it is not a stretch to consider a direct correlation between its demand; how much bamboo is planted; and the improvement to the welfare of poverty stricken areas. As highlighted in a report on Vietnam’s bamboo trade by The Guardian, “a shift toward more bamboo production by small scale farmers...could reduce poverty and help circumvent worldwide demand for timber.” This trade-off will result in less environmental damage, leaving only positive consequences for farmers in developing nations.
So, how can we conclude?
Bamboo is super-sustainable. There we said it. Everything has its detractors, even bamboo whose critics will argue its reliance on farmers' intelligence, but on the whole it may in fact be the most sustainable material on the planet. While silicone takes the prize in terms of pure abundance (given that its Silicon derivative is the second most abundant element on the planet behind Oxygen) bamboo on the whole is even better. It’s the fastest growing plant on earth, it's strong, versatile, great for the environment, great for wildlife, great for poverty stricken areas and can replace a host of plastics. We love it, and we’re sure you will too.
Shop ‘The Bamboo Collection’, now.
We want to make sustainability as transparent as possible. Offering everyone and anyone an informative choice and transparency as to why it matters to replace so many unsustainable yet widely accepted plastics and otherwise disposable products. Doing the investigation so you don’t have to is key to this. We want to help those of you unaware (as we all have been at one point) understand why it is important to choose reusable, biodegradable and otherwise sustainable options. Understanding - is key to rewilding our world, and reducing waste on a global scale.