While many of us know bamboo as something pandas like to eat, did you know the fast-growing grass is also an incredible manufacturing material? Bamboo is among the fastest growing plant in the world making it a truly sustainable resource.
Certain species of bamboo can grow as much as 91 cm (36 in) within a 24-hour period. As well as growing super quickly, bamboo has special properties that make it perfect for building manufacturing.
It has a higher specific compressive strength than wood, brick or concrete, and a specific tensile strength that rivals steel. Bamboo has been a popular building material for centuries.
It is easy to cut, transport and provides a robust framework for much vernacular architecture. But designers all over the world are turning to bamboo as a material choice for everything from mobile phone cases to bicycles.
Here is a list of 15 amazing things you can do with bamboo.
Banatti is a Phillipino company responsible for the super cool, Green Falcon electric motorbike. The head-turning cafe racer features a swooping piece of lacquered bamboo as its body.
Underneath is a fully electric motor capable of getting you around town at 110 km/h. The bamboo body of the motorbike is made from woven bamboo that is then lacquered. The companies owner says it's light strong and reflects the sustainability of the motorbike itself.
Drinks made from different parts of bamboo have long been a staple in South-East Asia. Bambusa craft brewery is the first beer brewery to incorporate bamboo into their beer in Latin America and Mexico.
Brewery owner, Manual Mauricio Mora Tello started the brewery after becoming fascinated with bamboo after a study trip to China. The young entrepreneur saw a gap in the market; there was an increased interest in Mexico in both craft beers and bamboo - so why not combine both.
Bambusa uses the leaves of the bamboo plant in its beer. Bamboo leaves are known to have an incredible amount of active ingredients that can contribute to human health like flavonoids and anti-oxidants.
Bamboo fibers can be stripped and processed to make cloth. Traditional a relatively stiff material, bamboo cloth only used to be used for structural uses.
But new processes mean very soft materials can be produced particularly when blended with hep or spandex. When it first appeared on the market, many bamboo materials claimed to have anti-bacterial properties. Subsequent studies have shown bamboo cloth has no remarkable ability in this area.
Bamboo has been used as a flooring material in parts of Asia for centuries. Traditionally the bamboo was cut thinly, then nailed down onto large planks. Often with gaps between to allow air circulation. Modern bamboo floors are made using a laminate process, and high-quality versions have similar properties to hardwoods without the environmental impact.
5. Tech Gadgets
We all need gadgets, but they are often made from plastics that are bad for the environment from their production to landfill. Luckily many gadget makers are replacing the casing and covering plastics in the production of their gadgets and small tech gear with bamboo.
Bamboo is fast-growing and can breakdown back to the earth once it isn't needed anymore. Some great examples of bamboo being used in tech gadgets instead of plastics include mobile phone covers, keyboards, and speakers.
Despite it being an object you use a lot, the average toothbrush has a high environmental impact. Made from solid plastic and getting dumped in landfill every three or four months, these teeth cleaning tools are a nightmare for mother earth. In fact, around 850 million to 1 billion plastic toothbrushes are thrown away in the u.S annually
Enter the bamboo toothbrush. You'll be hard-pressed to find a toothbrush that looks this good and can be composted after you are finished with it.
Modern surfboards are usually made from fiberglass, a reinforced plastic composite made from glass fibers embedded in a resin matrix. Fibreglass is strong, but it is hazardous to process and damage is difficult to fix.
Bamboo surfboards offer a great alternative that is lighter and ofter stronger than typical traditional fiberglass boards. Bamboo boards are perfect for trick surfers as they have more flex and spring.
Not only do they provide a great ride but they also look good and are easy and safe to produce.
8. Roads and bridges
Bamboo has been used a way to make paths and road for centuries. The plant is cut down the laid down to form long-lasting boardwalks. A bamboo bridge created from horizontal beams made from a bamboo composite was designed in China that can hold even 14-tonne trucks.
The sap, leaves and outer husk of bamboo are used in Chinese medicine with many different properties. Bamboo is now available to Western audiences in pills and lotions that can assist relieving cold symptoms.
10. Kitchen Products
From chopping boards to plates. Bamboo can be transformed into almost any useful kitchen product. Bamboo kitchen products are long-lasting and have natural antibacterial qualities to prevent mold.
Did you know that sustainable toilet paper can be made from bamboo? A more sustainable choice than using hardwoods, bamboo toilet paper feels exactly the same as traditional paper.
Bamboo might soon become a primary fuel source in countries where cooking and heating is still done primarily by wood-burning stoves. As our global population increases finding sustainable sources of fuel is critical.
Bamboo isn't just food for pandas. You can add bamboo shoots to many dishes and eat it fresh, pickled and fermented. Bamboo is a really important ingredient all across Asia and is also becoming more popular all over the world too.
Bamboo makes an excellent material for furniture making. It's light and can be easily bent and shaped using heat. Its structural strength allows designers to create heavy duty furniture with minimal material.
Fast growing and easy to transport, bamboo makes an ideal material to build a fence with. Bamboo is used extensively across the world as a divided. If you are feeling permanent, you could always plant a border in bamboo for a living fence.