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Celebrated for both its sustainability and durability, bamboo is becoming an increasingly popular choice for environmentally conscious design. 

From earthquake-resistant construction and curved furniture pieces to handbag handles and organic toothbrushes, bamboo is one of the most versatile, and sustainable, natural materials on the planet.


Documented use of bamboo dates back 7,000 years. From around 200 BC to 200 AD, bamboo was used to make paper and books. In China, bamboo was the key material used in treehouse construction –  beginning its enduring legacy as a sturdy building material which has lasted millennia.  

Bamboo musical instruments were developed from the fifth century, establishing an even stronger cultural legacy for the material. Other cultural uses for bamboo throughout history include inspiration for art, poetry and music.

The more people discovered about the bamboo plant, the more widely used it became. From the 1300s, bamboo became a popular interior finishing with the Ming Dynasty, often used to create bed frames and flooring.


Bamboo, a perennial grass, is a sustainable design choice.  The bamboo plant grows very quickly – up to one metre a day – and entirely regenerates after five years. It absorbs CO2 four times faster than forests and produces 35% more oxygen. 

Due to bamboo’s pliability, builders often use it in construction projects built to withstand earthquakes. This flexibility means bamboo is also an ideal material for making curved items such as handbag handles and sculptures.

Bamboo is lightweight yet strong – some strains have a stronger structure than steel! These sturdy characteristics have allowed it to be used in countless applications over time. Bamboo’s versatility lends itself to endless opportunities in furniture design – from benches and chairs to tables and shelving. 

While historically used only for structural elements of garments, such as the ribs of corsets, recent technologies allow bamboo fibres to be used for a wide range of textile and fashion applications. For instance, bamboo fibres can now be woven into textile products such as rugs, bedding and shirts.

More recently, bamboo has become an alternative to traditionally plastic goods. Bamboo straws, toothbrushes, cutlery and cutting boards are now widely available as organic substitutes for petroleum-based materials.

Production Process

Bamboo grows in tropical and subtropical regions around the world and is harvested from both cultivated and wild stands.

It takes bamboo only three to five years to reach maturity, meaning that the cultivation and harvest time for bamboo is time effective. Since bamboo is a woody grass, it also does not need to be replanted once harvested; it will simply re-start the process of pushing new shoots through the ground. 

Bamboo’s swift maturation rate and regeneration activity allows it to be sustainably farmed when the right processes are in place.


Issues concerning bamboo’s sustainability can arise from manufacturing methods of bamboo products. Bamboo products are often labelled as bio-degradable and antimicrobial, irrespective of their manufacturing process. For example, viscose processes are often used to create bamboo fibres which are then used for textile goods and, hence, the natural sustainable properties of bamboo are offset.

However, cleaner production processes are quickly appearing. The abundance of the raw material and unique performance of bamboo fibres mean that green and pure bamboo textiles are rapidly being developed and becoming widely available to designers.

Bamboo’s Future

Bamboo is quickly becoming one of the most functional natural materials in the design world, directly contributing to a cleaner, more sustainable future. As more new clean technologies and manufacturing methods are developed, bamboo will continue to swiftly become a leading material in the world of sustainable design.




https://www.bamboobioproducts.com/post/guide-to-farming-bamboo-sustainably https://fashionandtextiles.springeropen.com/articles/10.1186/s40691-015-0054-5#:~:text=Bamboo%20as%20a%20raw%20material,image%20of%20bamboo%20is%20tarnished.

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