We have been eating and building with bamboo for thousands of years. However, the culinary and constructive uses that we give to this plant are not it's only virtues. Bamboo is one of the most sustainable plants on the planet.
Technically speaking, bamboo is not a tree. In fact, bamboo is considered a type of grass and one of the most persistent and versatile grasses on earth. It grows exceptionally fast and can be made into anything, from homes to hosiery. It’s naturally renewable and requires little maintenance to farm.
There are more than 1,400 different bamboo species, though the largest concentration of these plants can be found in Southeast Asia. Nevertheless, bamboo can grow in Africa, Australia, Latin America, and southern regions of the U.S.
More and more industries are replacing plastic and woods with bamboo, as it is a much more sustainable option. Leafico's toothbrushes, for example, are made from this material, and today the company is exploring the possibilities and versatility that bamboo offers to create new products.
An ally of the planet
Bamboo is sustainable for several reasons. First, it’s super easy to grow. Farmers do not need to do much to ensure a bumper crop. Pesticides and fertilizers are unnecessary. This is because bamboo self-regenerates from its roots, thriving in even the shallowest, rocky soil. In fact, the majority of its harvest takes place on wild mountains around the globe.
We are also talking about one of the fastest-growing plants in the world. Sometimes, it can grow at a rate of 3 feet (90cm) per day, depending on the variety. To grow to full maturity only takes 1 to 5 years.
Bamboo is strong, stronger than steel. It has a tensile strength of 28,000 pounds per square inch. Steel only has a tensile strength of 23,000 pounds per square inch.
Another main reason for choosing bamboo is its ability to sequester carbon dioxide. Compared to an equivalent tree mass, bamboo produces 35% more oxygen, and research has shown that bamboo can absorb as much as 12 tonnes of carbon dioxide per hectare per year. That’s a lot of carbon sequestration!
It’s a crucial element in the balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Bamboo produces 35 per cent more oxygen than a tree of equivalent mass. It can also absorb as much as 12 tons of carbon dioxide per hectare per year.
While the bamboo plant only has shallow roots, they develop to create a fibrous network underground, which helps to hold the soil together. The micro-environment beneath the surface continues to improve and evolve.
Soil improvement helps with water absorption, as well as aiding in the prevention of soil erosion. Many areas where bamboo is grown are subject to heavy rain and monsoons during the wet season, and improved soil and healthy roots help minimize landslides.
Are these enough reasons to choose bamboo instead of plastic or other types of woods? We believe the answer is a resounding YES.If you want to know more about the benefits of this plant, you can watch this short documentary.