Want an eco-friendly alternative? Look to bamboo
Bamboo is not just for tiki torches, blinds or grass huts anymore, as I learned from Corey Dinerstein, one of the owners of Green Earth Bamboo (a Plainfield, family-owned, online distributor of bamboo clothing, bedding and bath products).
Dinerstein says that the recent concern over global warming is motivating people to take a closer look at the eco-friendly qualities of bamboo, and, today, it’s being used for new construction (where, in some cases, bamboo is stronger than steel), flooring, countertops, furniture, clothing, bedding and much more. There’s even a bamboo computer – the Asus EcoBook!
I also learned that there are more than a thousand species of bamboo; that it’s actually a grass, not a wood; and its terrific growth rate (up to 4 feet a day) makes it the world record-holder as the fastest-growing plant with some species growing up to 60 feet tall!
Additionally, bamboo can be selectively harvested every four to five years, which offers an eco-friendly option to the destruction of forests, and its ability to re-grow itself from its own roots – sending up new shoots after harvesting – means it doesn’t need to be replanted.
Another feature of bamboo that makes it an eco-friendly resource is its ability to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, while producing more than 30 percent more oxygen than an equivalent stand of trees.
Bamboo’s ability to rapidly soak up excess nutrients found in wastewater, too, has also captured the attention of environmental and manufacturing engineers as an environmentally safe and reliable alternative to dealing with waste issues.
Bamboo’s root system – beyond helping it perpetuate itself – also helps prevent soil erosion and improves the soil by removing nitrogen. Additionally, bamboo retains an abundance of water and helps to reduce runoff, protects riverbanks and reduces water pollution (again, based on its high nitrogen consumption).
The bamboo plant is naturally resistant to pests, which is another reason it is an eco-friendly choice. No pesticides or herbicides are used when growing bamboo because of its natural antibacterial properties. These properties protect the plant from insects and pathogens.
Bamboo’s antibacterial nature also makes it an excellent fabric for people suffering from allergies.
In tests done by Japanese textile companies, it was found that bamboo fabrics retain up to 99.8 percent of their remarkable antibacterial properties, even in post-production.
Bedding made from bamboo fabric has also been proven to reduce the presence of bedbugs and mites.
For decades, cotton, polyester and silk, among other fabrics, have been staples in the clothing industry, but bamboo clothing, bedding and towels are quickly gaining momentum and attention because of bamboo’s superior characteristics.
Not only is bamboo fabric antibacterial, it is also softer than cashmere or silk, can be machine-washed and dried (unlike cashmere or silk) and is two to three times more absorbent than cotton, allowing it to disperse moisture at a significantly faster rate than even the most advanced synthetic fabrics used in athletic clothing.
For additional reasons that make ecological and healthful sense to use bamboo, visit Green Earth Bamboo (www.greenearthbamboo.com).