Lately you may have been hearing a lot about bamboo, but you may not have heard of all the creative uses it has around the house. People who care about the environment have been raving about it as a safe, renewable resource. Unlike the tropical timber it is now often substituted for, bamboo is a grass that reaches maturity in only three years. New shoots appear regularly and prolifically. Bamboo actually increases its biomass by up to 30 percent per year and produces more cellulosic material per acre than pine. Because of the extensive rhizome system present in the top foot of soil, bamboo is also able to prevent soil erosion. It can control floods and landslides and slow fast water. Bamboo even produces more oxygen than trees, strand per strand. Thus bamboo groves and plantations could significantly reduce the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
Did you know that bamboo is also great for rural economic development? Since bamboo can be harvested so quickly, small farmers with little capital are able to plant bamboo and get a fast return on their investments. Its high yield makes bamboo a perfect cash crop and income generator and can improve the living standards and opportunities available to the poor living in rural areas. You can help the environment, give poor farmers and leg up and brighten up your home by incorporating bamboo into your interior decor.
You love the way hardwood floors look. You also know that they are pretty expensive and not always environmentally sustainable. Not so for bamboo floors. Bamboo is a renewable resource and is much less expensive than other woods that are used in flooring like pine. Bamboo is also much stronger than other types of timber. Studies in Puerto Rico demonstrate that bamboo can withstand up to 52,000 pounds per square inch before breaking, whereas walnut can take only 20,000. This makes bamboo more comparable to steel for reinforced concrete, which withstands 60,000. Bamboo floors are eco-friendly, affordable and durable. They also look great.
You may have not even realized that bamboo was used to make textiles too. Bamboo textiles are made from the plant fibers inside of the hard cane. You can buy bamboo linens for your bed at most home and garden stores. Bamboo linens are soft and breathable. They are naturally antibacterial and antifungal. They are especially easy to clean and don't require any bleach or fabric softener and their antibacterial qualities keep them smelling fresh. Bamboo fabrics are also used as a substitute for silk, because they are so soft and have a natural sheen. They are even wrinkle resistant.
Since bamboo grows so quickly and will survive almost anywhere, some homeowners have been using is as privacy fencing in their backyards. You can plant some bamboo around the perimeter of your yard and expect it to grow into a thick privacy barrier within a year. Bamboo privacy barriers can make your yard look like an exotic private garden. You have to be very careful about removing new and unwanted growth quickly though, or else the bamboo will devour your entire yard.