Bamboos, part of the grass family, are some of the fastest-growing plants in the world. Some varieties having the ability to grow 91 cm (3 ft) within 24 hours, at a rate of almost an incredible 4 cm (1.5 in) an hour, in other words, around 1 mm every 90 seconds. We are depleting our natural resources at a terrifying rate, damaging our delicate planet in the process by using unsustainable materials. Bamboo may be a suitable alternative as a sustainable material to help resolve these issues. Though more research needed, many studies point at Bamboo as a renewable resource and could play an important role in reducing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
How can Bamboo help the cause? Let’s look at Bamboo’s versatility and sustainability:
1. It is naturally pest-resistant and can therefore be grown without pesticides. It also does not need any chemical fertilisers as it rarely needs replanting but instead re-growing from shoots.
2. As mentioned previously, it grows rapidly and can be harvested in 3-5 years making it a candidate as a renewable resource. Other hardwoods can take atleast forty years to mature before they can be harvested.
3. Plays a crucial role in absorbing greenhouse gases. Bamboo can absorb as much as 12 tonnes of carbon dioxide per hectare per year.
4. It also helps the atmosphere by producing 35% more oxygen that the equivalent hardwood trees.
5. It is an excellent soil erosion inhibitor. Bamboo can be used as a soil protector, helping to prevent against landslides and soil loss.
6. After harvesting there is very little waste. Virtually every part of the plant is utilised to make a wide variety of materials and products.
7. Economic development. Bamboo production, harvesting and manufacturing of its products provides job opportunities in areas in need of social and economic stability.
8. Construction. It is used to build reinforcements and scaffolding in roads and bridges, as it has a high strength to weight ratio, is eco friendly and cost effective.
9. It is used in medicines and food. It is believed to help in treatment of a variety of diseases including kidney, bone, and cancer. Bamboo shoots in food are believed to be highs source of antioxidants and can be used as a natural food preservative.
10. And many more uses. From bicycles, like the Bamboo Bicycle Club replacing the metal body for bamboo which is light, durable and sustainable. Clothes that are strong, durable, breathable, thermal regulating and odour resistant. To jewellery, paper, utensils, furniture, fuel and more.
http://www.sustainablematerials.org.uk/resource/bamboo.html http://bamboobicycleclub.org/ https://econation.co.nz/bamboo/ http://voices.nationalgeographic.com/2012/06/13/bamboo-a-beautiful-and-versatile-material/