‘Bamboo that bends is stronger than oak that resists’

Climate change: it’s a topic which has been at the fore of both minds and column inches since the airing of David Attenborough’s latest BBC climate change documentary.

This programme’s message to the masses was simple: that strength against climate change and the future of our environment lies in our ability to change our ways and adapt (to bend... like bamboo!). The title quote is therefore apt in this context, especially given that bamboo may hold great potential for climate change mitigation... and it’s a product that we can all do our bit to support the continued use and development of.

As is all too apparent, we have limited control on our consumption based economy, but what we do have is the power to change is the resources we use, and the manufacturing processes we endorse with our buying habits. What’s so good about bamboo? Bamboo is known as a ‘carbon catcher’, meaning it has an amazing potential for “catching” ("sequestering") green house gasses from the atmosphere. It is also one of the world's fastest growing plants, with an amazing capactiiy to regrow without replanting, and to mature in only a handful of years. From this stance, bamboo has a clear advantage over the 30 year maturation time of regular hardwood trees, especially with its capacity to be harvested every year for its entire lifecycle, which in some cases is around 80 years. Bamboo also converts about 35% more CO2 into oxygen than a regular tree, so can make a huge contribution to reducing carbon emissions. In China alone, it is projected to store more than one million tons of carbon by 2050. Aside from its carbon catching benefits, bamboo also excels as an alternative, fast growing and highly renewable source of biomass energy (fuelwood and timber), to help reduce the need fossil fuels. ‘Bamboo charcoal’ actually boasts a similar calorific value to that of wood charcoal – with far less pollution, so it can contribute to a greener, cleaner environment. So, how can we do our bit to support the continued growth of the bamboo industry? Bamboo lends itself to over 10,000 documented products (from furniture, to clothing, paper, flooring, food and beverages, electronics and even the automotive industry), so a good starting point would be to opt for bamboo alternatives to any of these kind of products. For this feature’s photo shoot, we’re proud to showcase just a few of them, including the glasses, phone case and the straw. We have worked closely with Bambeco (suppliers of bamboo straws) on previous features, and would encourage anybody who is keen to support the sustainability movement to check out their products... Particularly if you are a fan of smoothies and juices!

Everyday bamboo products aside, bamboo experts are continuing to experiment with the multiple uses this plant (as they have done for 15 years). They are still discovering new applications everyday, with many more innovative products predicted for the consumer market in the not too distant future. Watch this space!

Sponsored by Bambeco Company