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 and transport, renewable, and provides a robust framework for much vernacular architecture. But designers all over the world are turning to bamboo as a material of 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 racer features a swooping piece of lacquered bamboo as its body.
Underneath is a fully electric motor capable of getting you around town at 68.3 mph (110 km/h). The body of the motorbike is made from woven bamboo that is then lacquered. The company's owner says the bamboo is 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 was the first beer brewery to incorporate bamboo into their beer for sale in Latin America and Mexico.
Brewery owner, Manual Mauricio Mora Tello started the brewery after becoming fascinated with bamboo during 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 may contribute to human health, such as flavonoids and anti-oxidants.
Bamboo fibers can be stripped and processed to make cloth. Traditional a relatively stiff material, bamboo cloth was previously only used to be used for structural uses.
But new processes mean very soft materials can be produced, particularly when blended with hemp or spandex. When it first appeared on the market, many bamboo fabrics claimed to have anti-bacterial properties. Subsequent studies have shown bamboo cloth has no remarkable ability in this area.
Bamboo is being 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 have gadgets, but their cases are often made from plastics that is bad for the environment from production to disposal. Now, some tech companies are replacing the casing and coverings made of plastics with those made from bamboo.
Bamboo is a sustainable resource and biodegrades relatively easily, especially when compared to plastics. 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 replaced every few weeks, then dumped in landfills, toothbrushes are a nightmare for Mother Earth. In fact, around 850 million to 1 billion plastic toothbrushes are thrown away in the U.S. annually.
Modern surfboards are usually made from fiberglass, a reinforced plastic composite made from glass fibers embedded in a resin matrix. Fiberglass is strong, but it is hazardous to process and to repair.
Bamboo surfboards offer a great alternative that is lighter and often stronger than typical traditional fiberglass boards. Bamboo boards are also 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 for many centuries in the construction of paths, roads, and bridges. The plant can also be cut, woven or lashed together, and laid down to form long-lasting boardwalks. A bamboo bridge created from horizontal beams made from a bamboo composite was designed in China that is strong enough to hold 14-ton trucks.
The sap, leaves, and outer husk of bamboo are used in Chinese medicine for their many different properties. Bamboo is also now available to Western audiences in pills and lotions that are claimed to assist in relieving cold symptoms.
10. Kitchen Products
From chopping boards to plates, bamboo can be transformed into a wide variety of useful kitchen products. Bamboo kitchen products are long-lasting and it is sometimes claimed that bamboo has natural antibacterial qualities that can prevent mold.
Did you know that sustainable toilet paper can be made from bamboo? A more sustainable choice than using wood pulp, bamboo toilet paper feels exactly the same as traditional paper.
Bamboo might soon become an important fuel source in places 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 an important ingredient all across Asia and is also becoming more popular all over the world too. Before you pull up the bamboo in your garden for dinner, keep in mind that the fresh shoots contain toxins that are destroyed by cooking, so be sure to blanch or boil them before use.
Bamboo is an excellent material for making furniture. It's light and can be easily bent and shaped using heat. Its structural strength also allows designers to create light furnitures that are long-lasting and durable.
Fast-growing and easy to transport, bamboo makes an ideal material to build fences with. Bamboo fences are used extensively across the world. For a more permanent option, you can also plant a border in bamboo for a living fence. Just make sure to use a barrier layer to prevent the bamboo from spreading everywhere.
16. Would you care for a bamboo pillow?
Trust us, it is much more comfortable than you think. Bamboo pillows are making their way into homes in the United States and Canada. People swear that these eco-nature pillows are the next best thing.
As their name suggests, bamboo pillows are made of bamboo fibers and occasionally contain other soft materials, to help deliver the best possible sleep. Why would you use a bamboo pillow over a standard one? Bamboo pillows are hypoallergenic, priced well, washable, and eco-friendly.
17. A Bamboo Home
There are homes around the world that are actually made almost entirely from bamboo. At the very least, you could make your next treehouse from bamboo. As we have mentioned before, bamboo is a great building material - easy to cut, handle, repair, reposition, and maintain, without the need for sophisticated tools or equipment. It is durable, non-polluting, and even offers superior earthquake-resistance. Could it replace steel?
18. Bamboo Straws
It has been demonstrated that plastic straws are creating huge amounts of waste, and in particular, are really bad for the ocean. Americans use more than 500 million straws a day. A lot of these straws make their way into our oceans, polluting the water and killing marine life. The good news is that a lot of countries around the world are now banning plastic straws. Bamboo straws are awesome reusable alternatives.
19. Bamboo Shoes
Though not usually entirely made of bamboo, bamboo fibers are also making their way into shoes. In 2019, CARIUMA unveiled its IBI sneaker. This bamboo-based shoe is 100 percent carbon neutral and creates zero water waste.
What bamboo products would you buy? Have you ever created something using bamboo? Check out these bamboo fireworks.
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