Bamboo is an interesting plant that is grown predominately throughout Asia. This plant has a wide variety of uses and has characteristics that help promote it as a green or eco-friendly material. In this article we’ll examine bamboo and how it is used in a variety of products from bamboo flooring, bamboo beds and furniture and even bamboo kitchen items.
Bamboo describes a wide variety of species that are found throughout Asia. Bamboo often called a tree is actually considered a plant. It grows rapidly and produces shoots or food at the base of the plant that can carefully be harvested and once properly opened can be consumed. These shoots reveal themselves seasonally and are offered in local markets for sale just like fruits and vegetables are offered in farmers markets that we have here in North America.
Besides being harvested for food, bamboo is also harvested for its culms or the longest and tallest growing part of the plant. These culms can them be processed and made into boards due to their strong tensile strength. Mature bamboo is just as strong or stronger than hard rock maple and provides an excellent material for building bamboo floors, bamboo beds and furniture as well as bamboo kitchen items. Being so strong it holds up well to day to day use and exhibits many of the characteristics of wood but with an exotic appearance.
Bamboo grows very quickly. In 5-7 years a bamboo plant can be harvested to be made into boards. It will grow back or may also be seeded to grow back. Considering many species of oak and maple take up to 50 years to grow before they can be harvested makes bamboo a very green or eco-friendly choice for building such things as bamboo flooring, bamboo beds, furniture and bamboo kitchen items.
Because bamboo is found predominately in Asia it is used as a viable building material there for homes and industry. Many American manufacturers though who either practice using green alternatives or have found the exotic nature of bamboo appealing have committed to bringing in bamboo boards into North America for manufacturing products here. This practice is still relatively new but is growing in popularity.
When we consider the need for alternatives and better choices for building materials, bamboo can immediately be seen as a viable solution. The fact that it grows quickly, can be harvested and grow back make it a strong choice as a green alternative to domestic hardwoods. Bamboo also provides a source of food which further demonstrates its usefulness. If you’re looking for an eco-friendly alternative, consider bamboo next time you’re out and about and shopping for new products.
By: Phil Pendleton
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