Bamboo is starting to get more publicity as a green alternative to many things, cotton, flooring, and so on. Its been showing up in clothing, sheets, towels, and even some strange things like laptops and a microsope. The main reason its being touted as ‘green’ is its rapid regrowth. A soft would tree takes anywhere between 10-20 years before it can be harvested, bamboo on the other hand takes only 3-5 years. However there is still the issue of importing it from China, the manufacturing process and for some items sustainability.
Importing~There is some debate about this area. Apartment Therapy says “The shipping alone can negate any carbon savings you were hoping to get. When looking at flooring sometimes a locally and sustainably harvested hard wood has a less negative impact on the environment than bamboo.” But PlanetGreen.com disagrees saying “Not necessarily so. Transport by ship is very fuel efficient; trucking wood any distance could burn a lot more fuel.” (See this artical for both quotes.)
So as always that one ends in-unsure.
Manufacturing~From what I’ve read most business that manufacture bamboo products do not use green methods. A lot of water is wasted and a lot of chemicals used throughout the process. There are some companies who use greener methods of manufacturing. For flooring specifically here are the top 5 as ranked by Planetgreen.com.
I guess this one ends with -depends
Sustainability~The sustainability of bamboo as flooring is still debatable. However that being said it is growing in popularity so there should be some more definitive tests soon. From personal experience I’ve been quite happy with my bamboo sheets and towels. They have held up just fine if not better than some of their cotton counterparts. In fact the towels seem to be holding up better, they are still so soft, almost 18 months later.
So the same as the last one- depends
So I guess this all just comes down to a judgment call. I like the bamboo products I have but I’m not sure how much greener they are. What do you have to say about the subject?