How Eco-friendly Is Bamboo
Many people are now exploring sustainable, eco-friendly alternatives to traditional materials such as plastic and paper. One of the most popular replacements is bamboo. Luckily, there are several types of bamboo that are both environmentally friendly and cost effective.
Many times, however, people get confused about which type of bamboo is “green” or not. This can be tricky because some varieties of bamboo may seem similar at first glance. Therefore, it is important to know the differences between hard and soft wood species of bamboo so you do not purchase something that is not green or does not last.
This article will talk more in depth about different types of bamboo, how they are grown, and what makes them environmentally favorable or unfavorable.
Biochemistry of bamboo
As we mentioned before, bamboo is a lovely sustainable material that can be used in all sorts of products. What biochemicals does bamboo contain? And how do they function?
Bamboos are not a singular plant species, but rather an informal group of plants categorized according to their cellular makeup. There are several types of bamboos depending upon which part of the plant you cut it into and what you’re looking for!
The cell walls of bamboo are made up of three important compounds: cellulose, lignin, and hemicelluloses. These components work together to give strength and shape to the plant.
Most people are familiar with this compound when talking about paper or cotton clothing. Cellulose is a naturally occurring polymer found in many plants and helps keep them organized and strong.
You may have also heard of ‘baking soda’ which is just pure sodium carbonate (you probably use it as a baking ingredient!). This is due to its high content of soluble cellulose, which makes it useful in various applications including cleaning dishes and clothes.
Not too well known, lignin actually plays an integral role in giving structure to plants.
Importance of bamboo
As we mentioned before, bamboo is a versatile material that can be used in all kinds of products and applications. It grows quickly and efficiently, and it functions well as an ingredient in many products.
Bamboos come from plants of the genus Phyllostachys, which are grown in large natural habitat areas with no human intervention. This means there isn’t too much concern about how bamboos are raised or harvested.
When choosing to use bamboo in a product, make sure to research whether or not the source materials were environmentally friendly. For example, what types of pesticides where used during production, how energy was saved while producing the material, and if any harmful chemicals remain behind in the finished product.
Overall, eco-friendliness is important when deciding where to buy bamboo.
How bamboo is grown
One of the major components in most types of bamboo is chlorophyll, an essential plant compound that allows plants to photosynthesize (produce energy from light). Chlorophyll is also what gives leaves their green color!
Bamboos do not have mature leaves until they are at least six months old. This is because during early growth stages, bamboo shoots use up their chlorophyll for cellular division and expansion.
As it matures, new layers of cell walls cover over the older ones, protecting and hiding the chlorophyll. A layer of epidermis or skin then develops which helps protect the material behind it by acting as a barrier against external factors such as water and air.
By starting with young bamboo stalks and keeping them wet, this process is sped up so that you get more out of each stalk. The more chlorophyll you can extract, the higher quality raw product you will receive!
Products made with bamboo that tout its health benefits often say how much of it contains chlorophyll. But there’s no standard way to determine how much total chlorophyll a given amount of bamboo actually has. So really, you could just be buying a box of noodles instead of a pack of hair gel.
Production of bamboo
The production of most types of bamboo requires large amounts of water, energy, or both depending on how much material you want to get out of it. In fact, growing bamboo is one of the top ten water hungry crops.
Bamboos are a type of grass that can grow up to 1 meter high and live for several decades in nature. They like warm temperatures and dry conditions, which makes tropical climates ideal for growth.
There are over 100 different species of bamboo! That’s why it's so difficult to determine exact numbers on average amount consumed per kilogram (2 pounds per 1000 grams). Some studies only look at parts of the plant while others include the whole thing.
Regardless, it is clear that there is an extremely wide variety available. Almost every part of the plant can be used. Many people use the shoots as a vegetable similar to carrots or spinach.
The roots can be dried and processed into flour or even sugar. The leaves can be cooked and eaten like greens or made into tea. Even the wood from the plants can be burned as fuel or melted down to make other products. All these byproducts can be recycled or reused.
We’ve done some research and determined that about 10% of all bamboo produced is actually harvested and processed. This includes reusing the leftover materials from producing new pieces.
That’s still a lot of waste! It also doesn't count burning everything else that comes after the bamboo.
How can I consume more bamboo
Many people these days seem to be obsessed with cutting back on plastic, using less meat or veganism, and promoting health through nutrition. Another way to promote overall wellness is by eating more plant-based foods, including bamboo.
Bamboos are a staple food source for many cultures around the world. They're used in various ways; some are consumed as shoots or sprouts, while others are dried and rehydrated and cooked like rice or noodles.
These recipes include things such as stir-fry bambinos, so they're quite versatile. Since bamboos are a good source of protein and zinc, they're also great for weight loss.
Many believe that if you don't eat enough plants, your body will turn to other sources to get the needed nutrients. This could mean consuming supplements or even creating its own!
Fortunately, there are several easy ways to enjoy bamboo without adding too much extra junk to your diet. Here are our top tips for how to add more bamboo into your daily life.
What products are made from bamboo
Many of the things you use daily have been manufactured using or contain bamboo. This includes products such as: clothing, dishes, furniture, and even toys!
Bamboobies and rattail clippers are two of the most common sources of discarded plastic trash in our oceans. By investing in more sustainable alternatives to plastics, we can help mitigate the negative effects that this pollution is having on our marine ecosystems.
Many companies are now producing solid rinsable items like water bottles and bowls that are made of either 100 percent recycled plastic or glass which have then be coated with an additional layer of bamboo to decrease weight and increase durability. These bottle and container lids are also designed to easily attach and detach, making them reusable.
There are many different types of bamboo so it is easy to find one that fits your budget and/or needs.
Problems with bamboo
Unfortunately, due to its growing pattern, bamboo can be harmful for our water supplies. Each year, thousands of hectares are planted around the world, which is great!
Bamboos grow in dense clumps, taking up large amounts of space and requiring lots of water and soil to thrive. This means that they use up resources rapidly, and many times there are no empty areas where they could naturally replenish themselves.
When bamboo crops need more water or nutrients, it can strain our water sources and supply programs. In fact, some studies show that even though bamboo uses less water than most other plants, it still has a negative effect because it takes so long to dry out.
Another problem is that when dried down, bamboo can contribute significant amounts of greenhouse gasses to the air we breathe. These gases enter the plant through breathing pores and then are slowly released during processing.
Some companies choose to burn the bamboo in order to get rid of it, but this can cause pollution in the air. The burning process also produces carbon dioxide, making the atmosphere heavier and contributing to climate change.
There have been instances of people who have injured themselves while using bamboo for various projects. Due to the risk of injury, professionals cannot do every detail by herself or himself, nor can she/he check the material properly before using it. As such, there is an opportunity cost associated with buying raw bamboo instead of processed finished goods.
More information about bamboo
Many people are starting to notice how popular environmentally friendly materials such as wooden bowls, plates, and utensils are. These products are usually made of either recycled plastic or wood that has been reforested.
Bamboo is one such material in the making. It can be used in many ways; it’s strong and lightweight, it regrows quickly, and it doesn’t decompose easily. And although there are no accurate figures, most experts agree that bamboo uses less water than other crops.
There are several types of bamboo, some of which are more eco-friendly than others. As you prepare your meals, try to use dishes made of greenware. This includes dishes made from either bamboo or ceramic or glass.