Bamboo often gets bad press for being an aggressive garden plant that’s hard to control. Love it or loathe it, chances are you don’t think a whole lot about it! Let me assure you that there’s a lot more to bamboo than just panda food. So what can bamboo be used for?
This incredibly fast-growing grass is gaining popularity as a super green material for making all kinds of incredible, environmentally sound everyday items, as well as some more unusual ones.
What You'll Learn Today
- Why Bamboo is a Useful Resource?
- What Products Can Be Made From Bamboo?
- What Can You Do With Fresh Cut Bamboo?
- What DIY Projects can You Make from Bamboo?
- Unusual Items Made from Bamboo
Why Bamboo is a Useful Resource?
If you search how many species of bamboo there are in the world, the results you’ll find range from between 1000 and 1600. So for argument’s sake, let’s just say there are a lot!
From small, delicate, ornamental varieties right up to huge giant ones like Dendrocalamus sinicus, with culms that measure over 100 feet in height and 12 inches in diameter, there’s a perfectly sized bamboo to make almost anything.
But what is perhaps more impressive than its diverse nature is the speed at which it grows. During a single season, new culms can grow 36 inches a day in certain species.
Culms that grew in previous years don’t get any taller, but the thickness of the culm wall will continue to increase until it is mature. By between 4 to 7 years of age, they are ready to harvest and used to create a multitude of different products.
When you compare the growth rate to that of trees, which mature a lot more slowly, 25 to 30 years for pine, 50 years plus for Oaks, and over a century for some exotic hardwoods, it’s clear to see that bamboo is a lot more sustainable.
However, what remains highly important, is that existing hardwood and tropical rainforest is not sacrificed to become bamboo plantations. These must be stringently protected for the good of our global environment.
Although the plant is primarily grown in China and other parts of Asia, it is quite a hardy plant and will flourish in many other areas of the world, including parts of America and Europe.
By growing bamboo here, transportation costs could be cut, along with the carbon footprint, to make using locally-grown plant an even greater advantage.
What Products Can Be Made From Bamboo?
There is a pretty endless list of products that can be made from bamboo. They range from everyday things to the far more exotic.
- Bee Houses
- Cascading Fountains
- Garden Fencing
- Garden Trellis
- Privacy Screens
- Tomato Supports
- Vertical Bamboo Planters
- Pan Flutes
- Slit Drums
- Wind Chimes
Leisure and Toys
- Bows and Arrows
- Fish Traps
- Fishing Rods
- Toy Cars and Trucks
- Curtain rods
In this video, you will see lots of items made from bamboo, some more surprising than others!
What Can You Do With Fresh Cut Bamboo?
You can use fresh cuttings to make things that won’t be exposed to any harsh elements. When it’s still green, it’s flexible and can be bent fairly easily.
The problem with fresh-cut culms is that they aren’t as durable as bamboo that’s been cured to make it last longer.
You can cure your bamboo by keeping it somewhere dry for six to twelve weeks, but there are quicker methods.
If you want to use items made from bamboo outdoors, then it’s best to cure it in some way first to increase its longevity and help protect it from weather, insects and mold.
Fresh cut shoots are wonderful to cook with and add a little extra crunch to Asian dishes.
What DIY Projects can You Make from Bamboo?
Many of the items listed above can be created by you at home. Musical instruments, garden projects, even household furniture often takes a minimal amount of expertise.
We have articles to tell you how to make a bamboo flute or wind chimes, but if you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, why not find a more ambitious project. There are many featured with step by step tutorials on YouTube.
Unusual Items Made from Bamboo
A company located in the Philippines is making beautiful electric motorbikes out of bamboo. The “Banatti Green Falcon” is a real head-turner with its sleek lines made from lacquered bamboo.
The bike is no scooter and is capable of 68.3 mph or 110 km/ph, ideal for getting you around.
Earlier, we touched on just some of the many musical instruments that can be made from it. There are some far more technical instruments that could join that list too, such as guitars, violins, or pianos.
The reasons for this are the incredible qualities bamboo has, which give instruments made from it a unique tone, combined with great strength and durability. But most importantly, it is sustainable, while the hardwoods these instruments are often made from are not.
The plant has long been used to make drinks in various parts of South-East Asia. There’s bamboo liquor, water, wine, and even beer. All are touted for their health-giving qualities.
If you’re striving to move away from man-made fibers due to their very negative effect on the environment, your first thought may be to turn to cotton or linen as a better material. But did you ever consider bamboo fabrics?
Not only can they be environmentally sound, but they can be made into all kinds of different things, including clothing, bed linen, towels, or washcloths.
Bamboo fiber is a lot more absorbent than cotton, making it ideal for anything that requires decent soak-up power. This brings us nicely to our next set of items.
Sanitary and Cleaning Items
Would you be surprised to discover diapers made from it? You can even get sanitary pads and tampons!
One huge problem for the environment is products such as toilet paper and wet wipes, but you can even get those made from bamboo. Because it is a totally natural and completely sustainable product with a low environmental impact, it’s far better for the planet.
As more countries try to move away from disposable plastics, products made from bamboo have become more popular. Ready meals no longer contain a set of plastic cutlery but bamboo ones instead.
There are other things like:
- Chopping boards
- Stirring spoons
You name it, and the likelihood is, it can be made from bamboo.
It seems that as more and more everyday items are being made from bamboo and an increasing number of manufacturers are jumping on the sustainability, planet-friendly wagon, that there will be wider availability and lower prices for these currently, quite luxury goods.
To read more bamboo articles, head on over to our site and see what other blogs take your eye.