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Bamboo – Our Environmental Hero

I don’t perceive myself to be the kind of person who would tie herself to a tree during a ‘save the trees’ protest, nor do I consider myself an extreme environmental fundamentalist, however I am someone who strongly believes that we all have a certain level of responsibility to take care of the amazing planet we live on and to make choices which contribute to the preservation not the destruction of its ecosystem. 

As an Interior Designer, I play a large part in ensuring my clients are making informed choices within their designs and that they are aware of the impact such choices will have on our environment. The sustainability factors of materials and finishes are a vital and extremely important consideration during the creative processes.

One material which has been hailed as an environmental hero and is one I personally love and most often recommend to my clients, is bamboo. Bamboo, or as it is better known as in the horticultural world, ‘bambusa phyllostachys dendrocalamus‘ is technically a tropical grass characterised by its long woody stems. Abundantly grown all over Asia, but also found in northern Australia, Africa, South America and some parts of the USA.

Environmentalists love bamboo because it is a highly economical, efficient and renewable source. It can be harvested without killing the plant itself, when it is cut it simply grows back, just as grass grows back after you mow it, in fact, it is so fast growing you can practically watch it grow! Bamboo’s regenerative term is a very short 2-3 years in comparison to most trees which are destroyed once harvested and can take up to 100 years after re-plantation to become a flourishing forest again. It is this deforestation which has had a devastating impact on our planet and is responsible for it’s environmental decline.

Bamboo is now a thriving business due to its positive impact on the environment, and it’s use as a more desirable alternative to wood and other heavily processed materials. It is not only acclaimed for its strength, hardwood like properties and fast growth rate, but also for it’s myriad of uses and versatility. Most commonly used for flooring, construction and household implements such as kitchenware and furniture, bamboo is also used to make textiles, paper, clothes and even shoes!

This amazing plant of wonder has come a long way from the days when it was disregarded as a cheap and disposable material. Bamboo has definitely earned its accolades and has proven that it does in fact, have a place in the world of contemporary design.

by Danielle Vella

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