We’ve all seen the eco-friendly bamboo products on the market these days. From bamboo plates to bamboo toilet paper! Bamboo is marketed as a sustainable, environmentally-friendly material that can be used for everything from flooring to clothing. But is it really as green as it’s made out to be? Let’s take a closer look.
The Environmental Impact of Bamboo Production
Bamboo is a grass that grows quickly and densely in tropical regions around the world. It doesn’t require pesticides or fertilizers to thrive, and it can be harvested without damaging the plant or the surrounding ecosystem. So far, so good.
The problems start when you look at how bamboo products are manufactured. Most bamboo products are actually made from bamboo pulp, which is produced by breaking down the plant’s woody fibers using harsh chemicals. The process requires significant amounts of energy and water, and generates harmful emissions that can damage both air and water quality.
What’s more, most bamboo products are shipped long distances to countries like the United States, where they are sold as “eco-friendly” alternatives to conventional products like hardwood flooring or cotton clothing. The transportation of these goods results in additional emissions that further offset any environmental benefits of using bamboo.
So, is bamboo really eco friendly? The answer isn’t a simple yes or no. While bamboo itself is a sustainable resource, the manufacturing process used to create many bamboo products is anything but green. If you’re looking for truly eco friendly alternatives to conventional goods, your best bet is to seek out products made from locally-sourced, recycled, or upcycled materials.