How green are bamboo products?
30 July 04

The new scientific "life cycle assessment" shows that many bamboo products and their processes are carbon-neutral.


Due to its green growth, sustainable logging and wood characteristics, bamboo is widely considered an attractive green alternative to other materials used in the construction and interior decoration industries.


But some people believe that the environmental costs of production and the fact that bamboo resources are far from the Western consumer market outweigh the green benefits of the factory.


A new report outlines the scientifically validated process for evaluating green certification of bamboo products. It shows how this versatile plant-made article can remain carbon neutral, even carbon negative, throughout its life cycle. It provides a tool that manufacturers can use to prove their green credentials to meet the growing number of bamboo products on the market.


The report uses life cycle and carbon footprint analysis to show how to produce evidence to measure the environmental impact of bamboo on the production of durable products. The analysis evaluated bamboo flooring, trim panels, cladding, panels and beams. It shows that these products have a carbon-neutral footprint - after being produced and processed in China, consumers who are transported to the Netherlands eventually burn energy production.


Dr. Hans Friederich, Director-General of the International Bamboo and Vine organization, said at the press conference: “If the bamboo business is to expand to its full potential, especially in developing countries, the industry needs to demonstrate its environmental performance transparently. A strong life cycle assessment provides Evidence required by consumers, markets and regulators. "


The research is a cooperation project between MOSO International and INBAR, the main industrial bamboo product manufacturers in Delft, the Netherlands.


Dr Pablo van der Lugt, the lead author of the report, emphasized that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to assessing product lifestyles. Each product requires its own analysis. "Our results show that the carbon footprint of the bamboo products we investigated in this case can be carbon-neutral. This is because China's major restoration and afforestation increase the carbon storage of forests and are based on the Dutch waste disposal standards. And scenarios, replacing fossil fuels with bamboo at the end of the product's life cycle. "


The results provided in the report provide a framework for inspiring other bamboo producers to use the method to assess their environmental performance and reduce the environmental impact of their products. Life cycle analysis also provides policy makers with information on the sustainability of bamboo products and the agroforestry systems that supply them. It informs the policy development process and encourages bamboo and rattan to specify in national and international policies and investment plans.


As major wood-consuming companies commit to zero deforestation by 2020, many are looking for bamboo as a wood substitute for furniture, fiber and other products.


Through scientific validation provided by life cycle studies, they can now credibly verify the green benefits of using bamboo for consumers.