Bamboo here, bamboo there, bamboo everywhere!
A Zero Waste Resource
Amazingly, bamboo is the fastest growing plant on the planet, with species growing 2" per hour, 35" in 24 hours, more than 3 feet in a day and some even reaching 60 feet in 3 months.
60 feet is over 5.5 stories.. that's at least two average-sized London homes stacked above one another!
Whilst most other woods need around 20 years to mature, bamboo matures in just 3. If it's used as an alternative to many tree-based products, it's highly effective against deforestation... of course, provided we don't abuse it. Did you know that bamboo covers over 0.8% of forest land in the world (that's around 31 million hectares)? 80% of bamboo forests are located in Asia, with the remaining 20% split equally between Latin America and Africa.
A few more fun facts about the plant:
- it produces more oxygen than trees
- it absorbs more carbon dioxide than trees
- it doesn't require fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides at all (whereas cotton does)
- this means it doesn't add any chemicals to the soil
- bamboo also adjusts the pH of the soil it grows in: enhancing the nutrient absorption of the soil, and thus its (the soil's) structure
- it's water resistant, making it perfect for construction and architectural uses
- every part of the bamboo can be used for something - check out the bottom of this page for a list of ways bamboo helps our living!
Bamboo Strength & Characteristics
Now, bamboo has greater tensile strength than steel and can withstand compression better than concrete. It's also more durable and flexible compared to hard woods.
Bamboo's low density and high mechanical characteristics make it highly tolerant against bending and pressure.
Did you know it was often used as shields in ancient times, especially in the far east? What about that it's often still used in construction - both for support in scaffolding & as a rooftop material, among others (like flooring)?
It being lightweight and waterproof just makes those applications even more fruitful. Not to mention, that in roofing, it gives an extremely appealing aesthetic look, making it a very attractive resource.
The strength of bamboo is related to thickness, diameter, moisture content, and density. These all increase with age: a bamboo's prime years are between 2.5 and 4, after which their strength declines.
Since bamboo is so durable, clothing made from it easily lasts years. Naturally, it's 2x more absorbent than cotton - and much of that stays even after the production process. This means it absorbs smells much better, thus making it a deodorizing material. It's also softer and kinder to the skin than cotton, generally making simple bamboo essential garments (t-shirts, vests and undergarments, for example) super beneficial for infants and those with sensitive skin.
Bamboo clothes also wrinkle less than cotton, making them a lot more presentable. Now, they wash in cold water, dry fast and can maintain its presentation for years. Bamboo goods are breathable and thermoregulating (temperature sustaining), so they're great in both summer and winter. You're highly unlikely to be feeling sweaty and smelly from wearing them in summer, and they give that warm feeling in winter when you need it! Another great feature is that it can be hypoallergenic.
Bare Kind Bamboo Socks
So which features stick with our beautifully jazzy and colourful bamboo socks that save endangered animals?
- lack of wrinkles
- washability (in cold)
- breathability (no sweaty feet, only happy feet!)
- temperature sustaining
- absorption (moisure-wicking)
More Bamboo Applications
Interested in seeing where else bamboo can be applied?
- Brushes, in general! Including your broom!
- Utensils (from spoons to bowls)
- Clothing (garments and hangars)
- Instruments (flutes!)
- and so many more!