Not All Bamboo Is Environmentally Friendly, But Bamboo Wood Is

The pros and cons of bamboo wood and why it is mostly an eco-friendly option.

In the last few years there has been a huge increase in the use of bamboo wood as an alternative to traditional wood products. Bamboo products range from flooring to plywood to home goods. It has been hailed as an environmentally-friendly alternative to traditional wood. Today we're taking a look at whether or not that's true.

One thing we need to note before we go into too much depth is that bamboo wood is different than other types of bamboo products. We discovered in writing this article that the process to make bamboo wood and bamboo fabric are completely different in how they impact the environment. In this post we're going to talk about bamboo wood. If you want to learn more about bamboo fabric and how it's made and the impact is has. Check out this article.

The Pros of Bamboo Wood

Bamboo is Grass: This is probably the most shocking and best aspects of bamboo. When you harvest bamboo you aren't killing a plant, you're basically just mowing your lawn. Bamboo grows super fast. Some bamboo plants can grow 3ft in one day.

Oxygen: Bamboo plants produce 35% more oxygen into the environment than their wood counterparts.

Renewability: Bamboo only takes 3-5 years to reach a point where it can be harvested, and as long as your harvest properly you can harvest it forever. This is much faster and more sustainable than trees which take years and years to grow to maturity.

Recyclable: Bamboo products can be reused!

Biodegradable: Wood made from bamboo will biodegrade once thrown out. One thing to note is that artificial aspects such as finishes or paint will not be biodegradable

LEED Recognized: The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design entity has named bamboo wood as a eco-friendly building material.    

The Cons of Bamboo Wood

Creation: Many bamboo products are made with adhesives that contain formaldehyde, which can emit some toxic gasses.

Transportation: Similar to other types of natural materials, bamboo wood needs to be transported. This causes pollutants to be put into the environment as a result of the shipping and transportation processes.

Overpopulation: Because of all the pros of bamboo, there has been a huge rush to produce more of it. This could lead to crowding out or the diminishing of other plant populations.

So is it Good or Bad?

Bamboo wood is a great thing. The commodity itself has almost no downside as it is sustainable, eco-friendly and renewable. Bamboo begins to negatively impact the environment when it gets put into the manufacturing process. This is true for any number or natural resources. Additionally, usually higher end bamboo products will be made with greater adherence to environmental standards.

Too much of a good thing is still too much. Bamboo is no exception to this rule. If bamboo begins to be produced in huge quantities, there could be negative impacts on the environment. But when you compare bamboo wood with the traditional methods we use to get wood, it is clear that bamboo is far more eco-friendly, sustainable and biodegradable. 

Tagged with: sustainability

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