Dispatch from SSC Intern Jason Wirick
Bamboo is now being used for a variety of different applications. With a grow-to-harvest rate of five to ten years, bamboo is considered a rapidly renewable material. The demand for bamboo has increased in the last few years since it is a very 'green' material (because of its renewable properties and its ability to sequester carbon dioxide).
Bamboo grows fast (is "rapidly renewable" as opposed to a plain old "renewable"), does not require pesticides, uses little water, and pulls carbon dioxide out of the air faster and better than other plants.
There are now bamboo shirts, skirts, socks, underwear, furniture, floors, paper, plates, sheets, towels, plates, bowls, spoons, kitchen utensils, keyboards, cleaning wipes...practically enough items to outfit an entire house made with bamboo everything. Method, the San Francisco-based cleaning-products company, uses bamboo for cleaning wipes, aroma rings as well as some of its packaging. And Totally Bamboo, a southern California-based company, sells more than 300 different bamboo-based products.
This great market demand though is leading to unregulated and unsustainable harvest practices which are destroying many different species of bamboo.
It has been found that the southeast United States is a great climate to grow bamboo. Watch out for a possible new cash crop entering the cotton belt states in the US to help feed growing demands for bamboo.
For more information about bamboo’s future please follow this link.