1. Bamboo grows unbelievably fast
Bamboo is proudly one of the fastest-growing plants in the world due to a unique rhizome-dependant system. A number of species within the family are able to grow an exceptional 910mm in a short 24 hour period. This makes bamboo an exceptional material to grow and harvest in relatively quick cycles. For comparison, timber can take up to 30 years to grow and harvest.
2. Bamboo is sustainable
We cannot speak for all growers of bamboo but if you find the right farmer/manufacturer, bamboo production and harvesting can be an environmentally friendly process. The plant is incredibly tolerant to climate conditions, requires marginal land and does not require pesticides or herbicides to harvest. Bamboo isn't that thirsty either, meaning little watering is needed. Oh and compared to equivalent tree mass, bamboo produces 35% more oxygen and research has indicated that the plant can take in as much as 12 tonnes of carbon dioxide per hectare on an annual basis. This is what is called carbon sequestration.
3. Bamboo has anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties
A unique feature of bamboo is the amazing health benefits it brings through what is called "bamboo kun". This is the name for natural antimicrobial bio-agents found in bamboo. This is the main reason no pesticides are needed to cultivate bamboo. By comparison, chemical pesticides are often sprayed on cotton crops to keep pests away from the crop. Bamboo kun is also anti-fungal making the material naturally odour resistant. These properties are all somewhat preserved in mechanical processing meaning bamboo fabrics i.e. clothing also benefit.
4. Its very bloody strong!
Hands up who's travelled to South East Asia! You've likely seen the bamboo scaffolds supporting construction projects en masse. Why you might ask? Well, bamboo is stronger than steel if we go off the PSI metric. Steel comes in at 23,000 PSI whereas bamboo achieves an impressive 28,000 PSI, making it 22% stronger. This makes for an incredibly reliable, eco friendly material in the building scene.
5. Use of bamboo offsets the plastic economy
For every person that chooses bamboo, there is one less person using plastic products out there. Plastic toothbrushes for example, which Australian's discard 30 million of per year, cause an enormous negative impact on the environment. But if we start seeing a shift in a few hundred thousand (or million) of us Aussies using bamboo toothbrushes instead of plastic, the multiplier effect of that behaviour can start to shrink the plastic economy and maximise the positive impact we make on the environment. That's the vibe we want!
6. If its FSC certified, bamboo is eco friendly
Over the years bamboo has become trendy and captured mass interest from ethically focused consumers. This is a double edged sword as we benefit from a considered movement away from plastic though at the same time, some sinister companies emerge selling unethically produced bamboo.
The plant becomes unsustainable when farmers clear native forests to be replaced with bamboo, reducing biodiversity and increasing the probability of pests emerging. Thus creating a cycle where pesticides and chemicals must be used to grow the various species. If you're on the hunt for bamboo products, look out for FSC certified bamboo. There's no law enforcing this but at least you can make the choice as a consumer to support ethically grown bamboo.
If you would like to read more, we have a full breakdown of whether Bamboo is sustainable or just another eco fad.