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Bamboozled? Chew on this…

Bamboo cloths: fluffy and inviting to touch

The cleaning and hygiene sector is becoming more aware that we need to look at our impact on the environment. As we seek alternative options, one is certainly bamboo, a highly renewable, natural material that has antibacterial, antifungal properties and is biodegradable.

Bamboo versus plastic

Over the years our planet has become a dumping ground for waste that has negative impact on the environment and generations to come. The ‘throwaway’ society is not really slowing down quickly enough. One of the main culprits of this is plastic.

Plastic has changed our everyday lives. One of the cheapest materials to produce, it has been a game-changer in manufacturing. Virtually every toothbrush, package you open, mobile phone you’ve owned has a plastic component. The list is endless. Plastic has been a key staple in the growth of society and economic affluence. However, all things come with a cost, and this has been a fairly heavy one. It’s time to look at alternatives and this is where bamboo could be considered.

  • It takes up to 1,000 years for plastic to biodegrade.
  • Half of plastic is never reused or recycled.
  • Over one million plastic bags are used every minute in the world.
  • Creating plastic, we use to make items we ‘need’ requires fossil fuels (oil), which impacts our planet’s carbon emissions.
  • Over 17 billion pounds (8 billion kilograms) of plastic end up in the ocean every year.

In recent years, bamboo has been referred to as ‘green gold.’ This grass plant is similar to weeds in how quickly it can grow and where it can live. Production costs are low due to the high-volume of availability. There are over 1,200 different species of bamboo, and most are highly adaptable. It can grow without fertilisers or pesticides and reach adult size for harvesting within three to five years. Pandas thrive on bamboo, preferring specific types of bamboo shoot which are preserved to ensure wild pandas can access them. Bamboo can thrive across much of the world and some varieties can grow in colder climates like the UK and North America.

Bamboo is now often used as a raw ingredient for clothing and homewares and is also a food source in some parts of the world – it’s not only pandas consuming bamboo! In South-East Asia bamboo is used in the construction industry. It’s strong, even stronger than steel. The tensile strength of steel is 23,000 PSI, while the tensile strength of bamboo is 28,000 PSI.

One of the biggest benefits of bamboo is its ability to absorb carbon dioxide and produce oxygen. Compared to an equivalent area of trees, bamboo produces 35 per cent more oxygen. Some varieties grow to maturity within a year, much faster than trees. When harvested, bamboo regrows from its own root system, it doesn’t need to be planted again.

Did you know?

Bamboo colour-coded cleaning cloths are available. Much work has been done to produce a totally biodegradable cloth, containing both anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. Further work is being conducted to improve its durability and the needs of a cost-efficient service whilst maintaining a hygienic and safe environment. So, let’s consider. Do you know how many cloths you use annually? Do you know how they’ve been constructed? Do you know the fibre content? Do you know if they are biodegradable? Do you know the potential impact they are having on our planet? Bamboo is already being used in everything from toilet paper to mop heads, and clothing to bedding. Treat yourself to some bamboo bed linen. Enjoy the most luxurious ‘lie ins’. The fibre has amazing natural properties, which soothe skin and sustain sleep. The most natural sleep on natural fibre, waking up totally refreshed and ready to rumble or maybe stumble, it’s your choice.

There’s plenty of bamboo to ensure pandas can still feast on the varieties they prefer
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