The surprising uses of bamboo

Bamboo is springing up everywhere as the new sustainable alternative for plastic products. From bamboo straws, paintbrushes and bags, bamboo is enjoying a revival in the mainstream economy. Yet bamboo is nothing new – it was used as the main construction material for many ancient civilisations, but now it is being considered for wider applications.

Its uses are endless, from edible bamboo shoots, to furniture, musical instruments, jewellery, scaffolding, bridges, and even making beer. It has been used for medicinal purposes since the 6th Century and is well known for its antioxidant qualities.

Bamboo is eco-friendly on many fronts: it is a fast-growing resource that is straight forward to grow almost anywhere, with between 1,200-1,500 species having been unearthed around the world.

The ease and speed of growing bamboo makes it a renewable material, and it doesn’t require any pesticides to flourish. Some species are ready to be harvested every three to five years, and it rarely needs replanting as it produces new shoots.

Here are four ways you can start using bamboo in your everyday life:

1. Bamboo cups
If you need a hit of caffeine to start your day, why not buy a bamboo cup to have yours on the go? Not only will you be saving money, but you’ll avoid using a single-use cup that takes fifty years to biodegrade. In contrast, because the bamboo cups are made from a mixture of natural bamboo, resin and cornstarch, they only take about a year to disappear. As an additional incentive, most coffee shops will give you a discount for bringing your own cup if you need a refill while you’re out. I bought one locally from ChicMic and my morning cup has never tasted so good.

2. Bamboo clothing
If you like soft, breathable clothes that keep you fresh, look no further. Bamboo clothing has antibacterial and hypoallergenic qualities, and is super absorbent to keep you dry. If you’re active, bamboo clothing is thermal regulating and designed to maintain your optimum temperature, whether the conditions are hot or cold. Compared to cotton, the texture of bamboo clothing is softer, and has the added benefit of staying cleaner for longer. If that wasn’t enough reasons to switch to bamboo, it uses just a third of the amount of water needed to grow cotton. Check out for more information, or to update your wardrobe.

3. Bamboo deodorant
If you have made changes to your lifestyle but feel your bathroom routine needs refreshing, you could try using a bamboo deodorant. It’s moisture-absorbing qualities and natural antibacterial defenses make it the perfect combatant to ensure you stay confident throughout the day. While antiperspirants stop you from sweating, they also contain aluminium which is not a sustainable material (transforming Bauxite requires a significant amount of energy). If you want a product that is both environmentally friendly and does the job, you can try the Biossance natural deodorant.

4. Bamboo toothbrushes
In the eco-revolution, the bathroom remains one area where disposable plastic continues to reign. From razor handles, body wash containers and earbuds, single-use plastic is often overlooked. Well, not anymore. The essential items are getting an update, with bamboo handle toothbrushes leading the way. With the aforementioned antibacterial resistance, bamboo makes the perfect sustainable alternative to plastic, and is biodegradable when you need to replace it. To find your new toothbrush, check out this review of the best bamboo toothbrushes around.

Who knew bamboo could be so versatile? If you are ready to make some small changes, give bamboo a shot.

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