With the renewed focus on renewable resources and eco-friendly products, we thought it was time to take another look at one of the most incredible plants on the planet - bamboo.
Bamboo is a generic name for literally thousands of species of plants belonging to the grass family. What differentiates bamboo are the hundreds of uses to which it can be applied, along with the fact that is is the single fastest growing plant on Earth. Some varieties grown up to two feet a day and it seems a new bamboo forest can spring up literally over night. The record for a one-day growth spurt stands at just under 48 inches.
In many areas bamboo is rapidly becoming an excellent replacement for hardwoods such as oak. It can take 40 years for an oak tree to grow to the point where it is suitable for harvesting. An equivalent amount of bamboo can be grown in just a couple of years. Plus, the harvesting of bamboo does not destroy the root system. A new plant can emerge without the need for additional planting. Talk about a renewable resource! And unlike many commercial crops, bamboo requires no fertilizer, pesticides or herbicides.
Bamboo also is good for the planet in other ways. For instance, it absorbs five times the amount of carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases - and releases 35% more oxygen back into the atmosphere than an equivalent stand of hardwood trees. Plus, there are almost no waste products associated with the harvesting of bamboo. Literally every portion of the plant has some use or another. Here are just a few examples:
Not only Pandas eat bamboo shoots. Throughout much of the world bamboo is a major ingredient in recipes for soups, condiments and vegetable dishes. The leaves make a great wrapper for rice and beans, and can be fermented to make a sweet wine. Bamboo is nutritious, low-calorie and a good source of potassium.
When treated, bamboo forms a construction-grade wood that is lightweight and extremely durable. Because bamboo fibers are much stronger than most traditional wood fibers, it is less prone to warping. Some companies have begun converting bamboo into flooring with great success. The only drawback is that bamboo wood must be treated with a wood preservative to prevent insect infestations.
Bamboo is a great material for fences, bridges, furniture, decks and many other items normally made with wood from various tree species. A great many musical instruments, toys, cooking utensils, fishing rods and decorative artwork also can be made from bamboo. Although it's not very common in modern times, bamboo has traditionally been a source of high-quality papers as well, especially in China.
A long time ago East Asian artisans developed a way to make yarn from bamboo pulp. There are a huge number of properties of bamboo fiber that make it highly beneficial for textiles:
- UV Resistant
- Naturally Organic
- 100% Biodegradable
Coarse bamboo rugs have been used as floor coverings for centuries. However, there is now something unexpected as a result of refinements to the yarn-producing processes. It is called Bamboo Shag. Created by the Anji Mountain Bamboo Rug Company, Bamboo Shag is actually softer and silkier than traditional shag rugs made from wool or polypropylene (olefin). The look and feel of this type of rug is due to its yarn blend that consists of 80% bamboo and 20% cotton.
Because bamboo is naturally hypoallergenic, these rugs have very little effect on allergy sufferers. Plus, Anji Mountain uses a non-toxic, Azo-free dye to produce the rich colors in Bamboo Shag rugs. There is also minimal shedding, which can be an ongoing problem with traditional shag rugs.
Rugs Direct carries a complete line of bamboo rugs from Anji Mountain, including the revolutionary Bamboo Shag. Take a look by clicking here.