We’ve probably all heard phrases that go something like this: “Switch to bamboo material, it’s sustainable and leaves no waste!” and “Buy reusable bamboo straws and bamboo cutlery in order to help the earth by avoiding single-use plastics!” Companies that make these products broadcast these sayings to eco-friendly people everywhere. But have we ever stopped to think about how extracting bamboo for materials can harm the earth?
Some pros for using bamboo products include this: bamboo is a material that grows back very fast, so it’s not likely that we’ll run out anytime soon. Bamboo absorbs a lot of carbon dioxide, so we already know it fights against climate change. But the main cons when it comes to transforming pure bamboo products include but are not limited to: emitting harsh chemicals to both the living and our earth, possible pollutants going into our waterways, less room for other types of ecosystems, and toxic waste. Along with that, there’s a possibility that the people who work in factories to make said products don’t get the best working conditions.
So, do we support bamboo products when we don’t know the full inside story if there’s more pros than cons? I personally have a few reusable bamboo straws, a bamboo toothbrush set, and a bamboo cutlery set so that way I can avoid single-use plastics in that area. I am happy that I have some options that are more biodegradable and eco-friendly, but I now know that it’s not a completely smooth process like I imagined it to be. I don’t want any living creatures to be harmed in the process of making bamboo into bamboo materials to use sustainably, but it seems as if we hardly have any options in this time of climate crisis. It’s almost as if we can just keep using single-use plastics that will harm many types of organisms all around, or we can take our chances with what may be true for bamboo. I think an important step in the right direction is for scientists to start studying the impacts of bamboo and if it should really be a trusted product.
October 28, 2019 – Written by Shelbi Fisher