Bamboo is an underrated plant. Not only because it is everywhere on earth, but also because it can do so many things that we never thought of. For example, it even becomes the favorite food of one species of giant bear. We mean giant panda.
No, we are not talking about the cute animal, but we are here to talk about the plant. Bamboo is literally a tall kind of grass, in the family of poaceae. That’s why, this plant has all the strengths of grass, but it is so much taller and more useful.
Aside from all those things, this plant is said to be the challenger of plastic. Not only because it can be used to produce almost anything that plastic can, it is also eco-friendlier. And with the world is heading toward eco-friendlier life, the possibility is high.
Here we will talk about why, will, and how bamboo replace plastic in the future.
Well, the first question inside your head might ask about why must we use the plant as the closest competitor for plastic? There are so many answers to that question, and we will list it one by one. First, because bamboo is a plant, which makes it renewable, degradable, and chemicals free.
All those features are not provided by plastic products, because basically plastic is a form of chemical compounds, and most of them are mildly to highly toxic. It is also made with non-renewable fossil fuel as the ingredient; thus, it is not degradable naturally.
Secondly, bamboo grow so fast, and is actually one of the fastest growing plants in the world. Certain species of bamboo can grow almost a meter a day, or an inch every 40 minutes. Thus, it can provide us with a lot of supply to make some stuffs just like what we want from plastic.
Thirdly, bamboo is very versatile yet so strong that it is often called as the ‘green steel’. In ancient times, and even nowadays in several Asian villages, people build their homes using bamboo only including the furniture! That shows how durable and versatile this plant is.
And don’t you ever forget that bamboo provides us oxygen because it is simply a plant. It does what other plants do too, photosynthesizing to get food. Thus, it can make our earth cooler too while plastic cannot do that.
Will It Ever Happen?
There are many other benefits that we can get from bamboo, but we only mention those four. Well, looking on only those four benefits of bamboo compared to plastic, don’t you already think that bamboo is much more benefitting to us?
So, the next question is whether it will eventually replace plastic in the future? To find the answer, we should look at nowadays trends in consumerism. Nowadays, the number of daily products made from bamboo is rising, but still it can beat plastic in number.
In example, sustainable clothing industry using bamboo fabric has been growing steadily with TENCEL known to be one of the most sustainable bamboo fabric producers nowadays. However, it still cannot beat polyester, nylon, acrylic and polyamide in the market.
Using bamboo as kitchenware is also a common practice in many parts of the world. So common that you might own at least one kitchenware made of bamboo in your kitchen right now. Again, it still cannot beat the number of kitchenware made of plastic in general.
Nevertheless, even though we still don’t find bamboo overpowering plastic, the presence of those innovations shows a bright ray of hope. Bamboo is in fact so versatile that it can replace any single use plastic, but not so many people realize it.
What Can Bamboo Make?
We have mentioned two kinds of products that bamboo can be made into. Fabric and kitchenware are among the most used products of this plant nowadays, but it doesn’t stop here. Souvenirs and ornaments, furniture, even houses can also be made of it.
Your plastic trash bin? This plant can make even more beautiful one. Your toothbrush? Pretty toothbrush made of this plant has already been sold everywhere. And about plastic bag? Replace it with reusable bag or basket made of this plant.
In short, it is possible to create a house and all of its contents from bamboo. However, for advanced use like electronics, plastic is still unbeatable. Since bamboo is natural material made from plants, its durability is questioned.
Still, if we use plastic only for such specific stuffs, we can eventually solve our plastic problems. Look around and see how many things made from plastic in your house that can be replaced with products made from the plant and make it better.
And again, we should mention that it is recyclable, eco-friendly, durable, and the whole plant itself is fast growing plant that require almost no nurturing in nature. You can even plant it on your own in your lawn and make use of it for any product you need.
More Than Plastic Replacement
Bamboo is so simple and undemanding, yet beneficial to us. It can replace most products made of plastic that we use every day, excluding in electronics and machinery. It can also be the answer for many of our nowadays problems, starting from plastic waste, housing availability, deforestation, even global warming.
We tend to overlook this plant because we have been too attached to other materials. Though, ‘bamboo culture’ is possibly something that we have been looking for all this time. Jubril Olakitan Atanda from Uluslararası Kıbrıs Üniversitesi, Nigeria, even said that bamboo is “a bold step toward building a sustainable environment” in his study.
“With adequate government input into policy measure, bamboo can be a very resourceful material in Nigeria, thereby contributing highly to mitigate the negative impacts of soil erosion, militate against climate change, protect the biodiversity and promote sustainable construction development,” he stated in the study.
So, if we are talking about the remarkable plant versus plastic, we are only talking about maybe half of its actual usability. It can replace any other materials that are produced with environmentally-destructive process including plastic, lumber, even metal.
“Due to the great advantages bamboo yield to the environment bamboo can be a substituted material for wood in construction, thereby reducing the rate of deforestation and promoting rehabilitation of wood-based panel industries,” Atanda stated.