With the rise of forest fires and deforestation, change needs to be made now. Forests and tree growth cannot keep up with our high demand for it in our paper products such as paper towels, toilet paper, printer paper, furniture, flooring, and more. A great way to diverge this problem and cut down less trees, as we also need them in order to breathe, is to use bamboo plants instead. Bamboo is a sustainable resource to replace regular trees because of many reasons. A great way to support this is to look for items made from bamboo instead of other wood, or switch to bamboo toilet paper and paper towel.
Bamboo is extremely fast growing, and can regenerate much faster than regular trees. Bamboo can grow 3 feet in 24 hours, allowing annual harvesting, whereas trees can take up to 40 years before they are big enough to be cut down. In contrast to trees, bamboo does not require replanting; once cut down, they can regrow from the same shoot. Bamboo can absorb greenhouse gases just like trees, and they also release 35% more oxygen. Bamboo also requires very little resources, using 30% less water than hardwood trees and limited amounts of pesticides or fertilizers. Anything made from bamboo is biodegradable, unlike plastic alternatives.
- Toilet Paper/Paper Towels
There are companies coming out with toilet paper and paper towels made from bamboo – instead of trees that take 20x longer to mature. This is a sustainable switch because this will reduce the amount of paper you use from trees that can’t handle the deforestation. Toilet paper options are available from Reel and both toilet paper and paper towel are available at Whole Roll. Obviously toilet paper is a necessity, but before buying your next roll of paper towels, think about swapping them out for reusable paper towels, or a hand towel to clean up spills.
- Clothes and Other Fabrics
Bamboo fabric is a good alternative to other fabrics, as it is biodegradable. Other fabrics are biodegradable as well, but as soon as you read “polyester” on your product tag – this means there is plastic in your clothes! Other materials such as organic cotton, hemp, and silk are also biodegradable. Bamboo can be a bit tricky because of the chemicals some companies use to make it. Rayon, a type of fabric made from bamboo, is produced chemically. Poor management of these chemical can cause problems to workers health and the environment if not disposed of correctly. To avoid this, look for “rayon from bamboo” on the clothing tags and avoid these pieces. Lyocell made from bamboo is a less-harsh option for bamboo clothing, where the chemicals used are recycled and can be used over and over to make more textiles.
- Furniture and Flooring
This is more sustainable simply because of the growth rate of bamboo compared to trees. More bamboo products can be made because of the output, the products are biodegradable, and they would save other trees from deforestation. Bamboo furniture is a lot lighter than regular wood furniture, and is also a good alternative to hardwood flooring. Bamboo flooring is a bit softer than hardwood, however, and can be scratched with heavy furniture. Bamboo furniture on bamboo flooring is the best combination.
- Bamboo Replacing Plastic
Bamboo straws and toothbrushes seem to be the newest “fad” in the eco-friendly world, but there are many more plastic items we can replace with bamboo. For example, makeup. Zao or Elate are great alternatives – they also provide eyeshadow refills in pouches that you can plant in your garden! Other bamboo products include reusable bamboo cutlery that you can carry with you in times in which you may be offered plastic cutlery, bamboo water bottles, and even bamboo speakers.