March 2016 Green Tips: The Versatility of Bamboo

We love bamboo! Environmentally friendly and versatile, this plant has been cultivated for thousands of years throughout the world and is happily seeing a spurt of growth here too. And why? Bamboo is completely renewable and able to replenish as forests in a few years; it can be eaten and used for building and beauty products. Bamboo also absorbs toxins, adds oxygen to the air and it even makes distinctive musical instruments, furniture and durable clothing. Here are some other amazing aspects of this plant:

  • It’s highly sustainable. Officially a member of the grass family, bamboo is the fastest growing plant in the world—on average, up to 24 inches/day. Because it is so prolific, it can be harvested without damage to the plant. Bamboo’s high yield makes it an affordable crop to cultivate as well; it’s harder than steel and heartier than most hardwoods.
  • It cleans the air and soil. The roots of bamboo plants help control soil erosion and, when grown near other food crops protects them and the top soil. Consuming high quantities of nitrogen, bamboo grown near industrial, dairy or other waste sites cleans the water wonderfully. Not merely storing nitrogen like other plants, bamboo converts nitrogen to oxygen and has a desalinating effect as well.
  • It’s edible. With many essential and semi-essential amino acids plus plenty of protein, bamboo shoots are a heart-friendly, low cholesterol, high-fiber food, according to . Health benefits of bamboo include immune-system boosters, cancer-fighting properties, and excellent anti-inflammatory agents. Of the more than 1,500 bamboo species, about 100 have edible shoots. Check out the web for recipes, food blogs and videos.
  • Bamboo is celebrated around the world. Did you know there is a World Bamboo Day sponsored by the World Bamboo Organization ( )? Begun in 2009, the organization works to promote the education about this sustainable and versatile plant around the world. Check them out; they’re serious about bamboo!
  • It’s an amazing building material. Flexible, shock-absorbent, light-weight and easily transported, bamboo is used in flooring, roofing, scaffolding, and can be grown in specific shapes. Because of its strength and ability to hold weight, bamboo makes excellent bridges; the longest bamboo bridge in the world is in Thailand and measures 850 meters (about ½ mile). Bamboo has a naturally waxy surface that allows it to forego the use of paint and all the toxicity related to paint chemicals. When smoked in its own resin, bamboo becomes impenetrable to insects, increasing its value as a building material.
  • It makes super soft clothing. Using a lot less water to grown than organic cotton, bamboo creates clothing that is anti-bacterial, naturally deodorizing and is 60% more water absorbent than cotton, according to

We hope this article interests you and encourage you to investigate your new friend, the bamboo plant! For any questions, feel free to contact us at: . Frates Consulting: Sustainable Solutions, Sustainable Savings.





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