Thursday, March 20, 2008

Green Term of the Week - Bamboo

I know, I know. I missed posting the green term of the week yesterday. I missed posting at all yesterday. Sorry. Sometimes, the paying clients get precedent over my blogging. I'll try not to let it happen again any time soon.

Okay, on the to the green term - bamboo. Bamboo is a very fast, easy to grow reed, and it can be used as an alternative to wood or cotton. It can grow tall and spread 30 inches in one year. That makes it very sustainable. Because it grows so easily, the pesticides and chemicals that are used to grow some other plants aren't as necessary with bamboo and it can be grown organically.

What can be made from bamboo? Clothing, bedding, furniture, flooring, fences, kitchen utensils, plates and bowls, and many many other items can be made from this amazingly sustainable plant.

Some things to consider when looking at bamboo products:

  • Just because it's bamboo doesn't mean it's organic. Sure, it can be grown organically easily, but that doesn't mean it is. You may want to see if the bamboo product your purchasing (particularly if it's clothing or bedding) is made with 100% organic bamboo. 
  • The other day I was looking for new bedding and found a set at Target packaged as bamboo bedding. When I looked at the label it was 40% bamboo/60% cotton, and the word organic was no where to be found. I opted for the 100% organic cotton bedding that was lined up right next to it on the shelf, instead.
  • Some bamboo furniture and other "wood" products can be coated with harmful finishes made form chemicals. Make sure you know what else is in the product besides just the bamboo.
  • Bamboo is not a widely grown plant in the U.S. (although it could be). That means that a lot of bamboo is important from far away countries. 

So, when looking  at bamboo products, take into consideration how it was grown, and it is with mixed with before purchasing. 

When we add on to and renovate our home in the next couple of years, bamboo flooring is definitely one option I'll be considering. 

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