Personally, I own quite some products made from Bamboo. Toothbrushes, t-shirts, utensils and chairs. When looking for inspiration for the website, Bamboo kept popping up as a sustainable material. I decided to research the material itself. I got very intrigued by all the benefits of Bamboo.
Before you start reading the list, you might want to know what bamboo actually is. Bamboo is a type of grass. It is one of the fastest growing plants in the world. Bamboo has been used for decades and has many purposes. There are over 1600 types of Bamboo. (1) The benefits of bamboo vary from its strength as building materials, to its benefits for your health when consumed.
I have created a list of all the benefits of Bamboo.
I hope this list will inspire you to buy more Bamboo products.
1. Renewable source
When it comes to the benefits of bamboo, this one stands at the strong base. Bamboo is a renewable resource. Bamboo grows extremely fast. Bamboo can grow up to 30 centimeters in a day. (2) Bamboo is usually harvested between 3 to 5 years after planting. This is a lot faster in comparison to hardwood. The average hardwood trees need up to 40 years of growth till they are ready to be harvested. This makes bamboo a very renewable resource. Another very interesting fact about bamboo is that the plant does not die when cut off. Cutting bamboo has actually proven to stimulate its growth. (3)
2. Produces oxygen and absorbs carbon dioxide
Bamboo produces 64 tons of oxygen per acre every year. Bamboo procure up to 58% more oxygen than the average hardwood tree. In turn it stores 24 tons of carbon. A bamboo plant can lock away 2 tons of carbon dioxide over a period of only 7 years. In contrast, over a 40 year period, an average hardwood tree will lock away only 1 ton of carbon dioxide. (4) Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas. Currently , the rise of carbon dioxide emissions have caused temperatures to rise around the globe. We call this phenomena ‘global warming’’ and it forms an enormous threat to our climates and ecosystems. Planting bamboo will therefore be an amazing way to support our climate.
3. Health Benefits of Bamboo
Bamboo has been called a superfood. When bamboo is prepared correctly, it can be consumed. Eating bamboo has proven to have many health benefits. Besides the many vitamins it contains, for this list I will just dive into the beneficial properties of bamboo. It can help you with losing weight. Bamboo can control your cholesterol levels. Bamboo is anti- diabetic and can help with wound healing as it has antimicrobial properties. It contains compounds that have proven to prevent heart disease. Bamboo also can boost your immune system and can clean your digestive system. All the health benefits of bamboo summed up above have mostly to do with the fact that bamboo shoots contain Potassium, Phosphorus, Calcium and Vitamin C. (5)
4. Little to no waste
When harvesting Bamboo, every part of the plant can be put to use. This means there is practically no waste. The leaves can be used as food for cattle. The stems, depending on their size, can be entirely used as building materials. Crushed bamboo fibers can be turned into good quality paper. Even the seeds have a purpose as they can be eaten. When the plant is harvested, they usually leave the roots in the ground and the plant will simply regrow. So not even the soil and space is wasted. (6)
5. Protect the soil
Bamboo can protect the soil in a few different ways. The first way is through the roots. The root system of bamboo is very shallow. The roots of bamboo can essentially work as an anchor for the soil. The roots hold the soil in place. This in turn prevents erosion of the soil. When bamboo is harvested, the root system remains intact. One single Bamboo plant can hold soil of up to 6 cubic meters together. (7)
Another way in which bamboo can protect the soil is by cleaning it. It has been used to extract heavy metals and other pollutants from the soil.
Compressed Bamboo fibers can be used to enrich the soil and encourage new vegetation to grow. Bamboo is an actual soil protector!
6. Bamboo as a fabric
Bamboo fibers can be processed into a sustainable fabric for clothes and other products. The fabric made from bamboo is soft and strong. The fabric is durable and very elastic. Bamboo fabric is a hypo allergenic material and also anti- bacterial. This makes it ideal for people with sensitive skin. (8) It is important to state that not bamboo fabric is often mixed with viscose creating a less eco- friendly fabric. Viscose is a fabric made from a non- renewable material and is not biodegradable. If you are interested in buying any products made of bamboo fabric, please make sure you check for the right certifications on the label. All bamboo fabric products should be OEKO- tex certified.
7. The strength of Bamboo
Bamboo is a very strong material. It can even be compared to steel and concrete! If you were to measure the strength of bamboo, it could hold 4,000 pounds per square inch (psi). (9)
The strength of bamboo is astonishing considering its weight. Besides its strength, bamboo is also fire resistant and can withstand an earthquake. Unsurprisingly, bamboo is often used as building material. Some types of bamboo are also flexible and can be bent to form all kinds of structures. According to UNESCO, 1 billion people live in houses made of bamboo. Considering its amazing qualities, this number will most likely keep growing.
8. No need for fertilizer, pesticides and herbicides
One of the greater benefits of bamboo is that it can grow at its astonishing rate without the need of fertilizers. This in turn is very beneficial for the environment and the bio- habitat. Fertilizers often disturb the soil’s fertility and can even contribute to the emission of greenhouse gasses. Bamboo is also naturally pest resistant. Bamboo can also easily grow without the use of herbicides. Herbicides are chemicals used to kill weeds. Just as fertilizers, herbicides create a threat to the environment and the soil. It can heavily disrupt the biodiversity of an area. (10)
9. Provider of jobs
The bamboo ‘’industry’’ is responsible for about 2,5 million jobs around the world. (11) Bamboo has created jobs in many countries of poverty. One of the benefits of bamboo is that it is lightweight. For this reason many women have been able to participate in the industry. During my research, I came across some amazing projects with bamboo. A great example of a great organization is the international bamboo and rattan organization. They have many projects all over the world, helping millions find their way out of poverty. They teach local communities about bamboo and help set up workplaces in which bamboo can be transformed into all kinds of useful products.
Bamboo is a grass. It is a completely natural product. When not chemically processed, bamboo is entirely biodegradable. Bamboo can biodegrade in as fast as 8 weeks under the right circumstances. When you buy bamboo products and you want to throw them out, throw them in with your compost! It will break down and even add some valuable nutrients to your compost. Because bamboo is so biodegradable, it does not add anything to the landfills and is therefore a very eco- friendly material. (12)
11. Bamboo is a versatile material
Bamboo is a very versatile material as it is strong, yet lightweight and some types of bamboo are even very flexible! Bamboo can be turned into an eco- friendly fabric and used in all types of clothes. Bamboo is also a very popular and great building material for all kinds of structures. The material is strong and fire resistant. The material is also antibacterial and can therefore be used in for example toilet paper.
Bamboo can be used to replace so many materials. There are now so many incredible bamboo products available. From toothbrushes to bamboo period pads, bamboo can replace many non- eco- friendly materials. (13)
12. Bamboo as nature’s river guardian and water reservoir
Bamboo has the ability to store water in its stems. This water can be stored during the wet season and can be let go during the dry seasons. The ability of bamboo to do this helps reduce soil desertification. (14) This in turn prevents erosion. Bamboo can also supposedly filter water. This benefit is still being researched.
What’s not to love?
Bamboo is an amazing material with many benefits. Unsurprisingly, the material has grown in popularity. Many bamboo products are now available in ‘’normal’’ stores. The material is affordable and eco- friendly, what more could you want?!