Is Bamboo Environmentally Friendly
30 July 04

Bamboo is a fascinating material, but it is really like being called environmental protection? Here, I will focus on some issues.


(very) renewable

Bamboo is a kind of grass. The grass measured in one day is up to one meter (39 inches) long. Bamboo grows so fast that it can easily be replaced, so bamboo is a very renewable material. Therefore, using it will not result in deforestation. In fact, it can be planted in areas where other crops cannot be planted (such as hillside slopes) and cutting can be done by cutting without causing damage to the surrounding environment.

Dealing with climate change

Bamboo absorbs 35% more carbon dioxide per hectare than equivalent trees.

A natural organic product

Most bamboos grow well and do not use insecticides or fertilizers, so planting them does not promote these chemicals into groundwater. Of course, it is also biodegradable.

Not just from Asia

Indeed, bamboo is mainly grown in Asia (China is the largest and then India), but did you know that you can find it in Argentina, Chile, Sub-Saharan Africa and the United States? Part of the impact of purchasing or specifying a product comes from the fuel used in transportation, so local procurement is preferable.

Stronger than steel

Bamboo grows in a hollow structure that is very efficient and used throughout the world for construction and scaffolding. Bamboo's strength to weight ratio (and its simple tensile strength) is superior to low carbon steel. In other words, it is stronger than steel. amazing. So for structural applications, you need less, which is always better for the environment. It may not be surprising to cut the bamboo. This is a traditional test of the samurai sword: Click to view the video clip.

Better than cotton?

Bamboo can be processed into fabrics, organically grown into underwear, T-shirts, and towels. I have some socks. Bamboo itself is of course a low-impact material, but it should be noted that bamboo fiber fabrics are usually treated with solvents that are related to health problems such as caustic soda and carbon disulfide. However, despite this, bamboo still has much less environmental impact than traditional cotton or petroleum-derived polyesters. It is naturally irrigated and organic, so using it instead of cotton can avoid the use of environmentally disastrous water and pesticides from cotton production. Textiles made of bamboo have natural anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-odor properties (appropriate for my socks at the time) and are as soft as cashmere. It actually has many advantages over cotton. It also requires less dye.


Laminated bamboo products usually use resins to bind the layers together, which may contain formaldehyde (classified as carcinogens). However, you can find products that use alternatives such as Plyboo's production of formaldehyde-free bamboo flooring.

Is bamboo paper green?

Bamboo paper has become more and more popular in recent years. Paper producers are keen to describe the environmental benefits of bamboo, but there is also an important issue, such as the ReThink Paper project, where production has caused local people to be displaced, local ecosystems to be disturbed, watersheds to be contaminated, and unnecessary paper pulp transported long distances. Perhaps paper is a bamboo product that can be avoided.

No material or product is 100% 'sustainable' or 'green', but if you are aware of potential problems, bamboo is definitely a good material or product. It is naturally beautiful, with thousands of applications. What other material can you say that performs better in the textile sector than cotton and is stronger than the steel in the building? Watch this space because I will write more about bamboo and design in the future.