How Cool is Bamboo

How Cool is Bamboo
Cool Bamboo

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Our forests are suffering by the minute. It is essential to continue finding new materials that are sustainable and practical. Bamboo is one of the most durable, eco-friendly choices on the planet. It has been around for over two hundred million years and can be made into everything from paper and food to furniture and clothing. How cool is bamboo!? Take a look at some of the many things this grass (yes, it is technically a grass) can do.

It Grows, Holds and Breathes Way More Than Trees

Bamboo has been recorded as growing 18.0 – 47 inches in a twenty-four hour period. This means it can be harvested much faster than the usual ten to twenty years needed for conventional lumber. Bamboo only has a three to five year growing period and holds 28,000 lbs per square inch (psi) compared to mild steel which measures 23,000 psi. A full grove of bamboo releases 35% more oxygen than a comparable stand of forest trees. In addition, bamboo naturaly reduces soil erosion. Rather than having water runoff, eroding the soil, bamboo offers a combined stem flow rate and canopy interception that decreases approximately 25% of potential damage.

Sit on It, Use it

Bamboo furniture and household items continue to show up in stores and catalogues across the globe. It is easily crafted into some of the most innovative designs that will never shrink or swell due to changing temperatures and is comparable or stronger than most woods. Look for water based, formaldehyde free, low or no volatile compound (VOC) finish as well as the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) label to ensure that the bamboo you decide to purchase is socially and environmentally responsible.

You Can Eat It

Bamboo has been used in many recipes for thousands of years throughout Asia. The young shoots are added to various dishes and broths, fermented into sweet wine as well as pickled. It contains potassium, protein and other useful nutrients.

Bamboo Scaffolding

Because of its highly sustainable growth as well as incredible durability, scaffolding made of bamboo easily outperforms steel using less weight and easy transportation. In fact, bamboo can be manipulated as it grows, naturally bending into specific shapes needed for scaffolding and additional building materials.

Interesting Bamboo Facts:
  • Thomas Edison used bamboo filaments in the first light bulb, 1882.
  • Alexander Graham Bell used a bamboo needle on the first phonograph.
  • A bamboo suspension bridge in China does not use a single nail or piece of iron.
  • Bamboo was the first plant to emerge after the nuclear disaster in Hiroshima, 1945.
  • Bamboo is still used to make Spirit Money throughout various Chinese societies.
  • Bicycles and skateboards can be made from bamboo.
  • Bamboo has been known to be made into an effective respiratory medicine.
  • Anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties can be found in bamboo.

With so many uses it is no wonder bamboo is being implemented more and more into mainstream society. So next time someone asks, “How cool is bamboo?”, hit them with the facts.


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