How can bamboo be made into so many different products?
The method of processing bamboo for various materials is different depending on the product, and the plant is so versatile, it doesn’t need any chemicals added to it. Bamboo can be a soft material for clothes, socks, and underwear, it can be rigid and hard for plates or utensils, and it can be malleable for making instruments – the opportunities are endless!
For making harder products, like chopping boards or flooring for example, the part of the bamboo that is collected is called the sheath. The sheath is the protective outer-layer of the plant which is extracted and is then cleaned, boiled, and laminated into the desired thickness. The malleable properties bamboo possesses mean it can be compressed and moulded into the desired shape – a flat plate shape or curvy contour of a ukulele.
When making soft products, like towels or socks, a different part of the plant is used. The stalks and leaves are ground up and soaked into a sodium hydroxide solution to make a pulp. The state of the bamboo after the sodium-soaking process is called ‘bamboo viscose’ and is pressed onto parchment paper to drain excess liquid from the solution, it then is spun and woven into workable fabric.
Bamboo has become a plastic-free, natural substitute for many household items, both soft and rigid. They all serve a different purpose, and each have their own benefits. These include a variety of things, like:
• Kitchen utensils – kitchen roll, plates, cutlery including chopsticks, chopping boards, food trays, storage jars
• Bathroom – toilet roll, facial tissue, towels, bamboo toothbrush holder, bamboo toothbrushes, bamboo back scrubber
• Furniture – flooring, work tops, tables, chairs, storage units, futon, storage boxes
• Clothing – socks, underwear, tops, bottoms, hats, scarves
Bamboo is great for homeware products as it has anti-bacterial properties. Bamboo’s density makes the material durable so it is less prone to scratches which is especially beneficial for plates, chopping boards and flooring. Bamboo in clothing is great as the viscose that is turned into fibres make a sweat-wicking, breathable, hypoallergenic, and soft fabric.
Bamboo is also in some unlikely alternatives you may not have even thought was possible! The musical world has seen bamboo being used to create instruments, not just to be more eco-friendly, but because of its sound. The Chinese plant was originally used in woodwind instruments as it has a light and airy tone, perfect for the melodic tune of the flute, and also because it is hollow, being nature’s own woodwind. The traditional Japanese Shakuhachi is an end-blown flute which is made out of madake bamboo, a type of bamboo that is very dense, and the sound is thought to be meditative and spiritually healing. Other types of bamboo instruments include the pan flute, rainstick, xylophone aka ‘T’rung’, and ukuleles.
Bamboo can be made into other entertainment/hobby items, like skateboard decks, yoyos, notebooks, and even technology.
• Skateboards benefit from using bamboo wood as it is durable and strong and will be more resistant to breakage, which is common when flips and tricks put a strain on the board.
• Yoyos can be made out of bamboo fibre which is created through extracting the fibres created during the making of bamboo pulp.
• Notebooks now often have a bamboo cover with recycled paper inside.
• Bamboo technology is also something that you may not expect; it offers an eco-friendly alternative to the plastic devices we normally use and throw away. This is in things like earphones, USBs, speakers, wireless charging platforms, and power banks.
We hope that you have enjoyed reading about some of the different ways bamboo can be used to create sustainable products that are gentle to the planet. If this blog has inspired you to purchase more eco-friendly products, why don’t you start by purchasing our soft, bamboo products including toilet roll, kitchen roll, and facial tissues.
Feel luxurious whilst saving the planet.