Bamboo: Super Crop for the Next Century
Jul 14, 2009
Bamboo is currently being used in thousands of products right now in major mainstream retail stores—including Wal-Mart, Target and JCPenney. A few years ago, there were only a handful of products available with bamboo as one of the major raw materials-such as place mats and window coverings. Today, bamboo is used in clothing, USB drives, kitchen utensils, flooring, keyboards and more. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to find a room in your house where a bamboo product cannot go. It is estimated that the annual sales of bamboo goods can be over $30 billion by 2022.
Why the proliferation of bamboo? Bamboo is the closest thing yet to a Super Crop. Not only does it grow extremely quickly, but it doesn’t need pesticides or very much water. Bamboo plants sequester four times as much carbon dioxide as hardwood trees (taking in 62 tons of CO2 per 2.4 acres versus 16 tons per 2.4 acres of trees) and puts out 35 percent more oxygen. And it can be harvested every 5-10 years, much faster than trees used for other forest-based products.
“In clothing, bamboo has a soft-feel, phenomenal wicking properties and is a natural anti-bacterial, making it a great raw material for performance and casual wear clothing”, according to Robert Piller, President of EcoMarketingSolutions.com. Many of his embroidered shirts are made with bamboo, as companies appreciate its look, feel and green benefits. Businesses can now choose between bamboo shirts and organic clothing, recycled cotton, bamboo, hemp and PETG (recycled soda bottles) for eco-friendly clothing.
Nearly a century ago, George Washington Carver discovered several hundred uses for the peanut. Who will be the George Washington Carver of the bamboo plant?