The more global warming gets attention in the news, the more appealing organic bamboo production becomes. Just like wood, bamboo can be used as a building material, and it is extremely popular for flooring. The difference is that bamboo grows and spreads quickly and is easily replaced. It does not take years to reach its full size like most trees do. In fact, it can grow several feet in one day. Bamboo grows faster than any other plant in the world, making it one of the most sustainable products in existence. Another advantage to organic bamboo is that it is simple to grow. Bamboo is not a natural target for pests since it is simply a grass, which means growing it without pesticides is very easy. Using pesticides on bamboo is the exception, not the norm.
Other Uses for Organic Bamboo
Organic bamboo can also be used to make clothing that is surprisingly soft and durable. Its smooth fibers are not likely to irritate sensitive skin and it is breathable in hot weather and insulating in cold weather. The fabric is also naturally anti-microbial.
Other products made from organic bamboo include:
- Dining utensils
- Tables and other furniture
- Wall coverings
The Organic Bamboo Production Process
Most bamboo is grown in Asia, which has the ideal climate for it to grow in. However, there is some bamboo produced in the United States. Bamboo takes three years to become established if it is planted from seed, which is when it will begin growing like wildfire.To speed up the process of organic bamboo production, it's advised to create new fields of bamboo plants using cuttings from old ones. Bamboo can be planted in rows, also known as runners, or in large clumps. Either way it easily spreads on its own without much help from the farmer.
Timber bamboo, or the bamboo used instead of wood, is harvested when it is at its strongest, which is sometime in the early winter. There is there is less moisture in the air at this time. Bamboo harvested during the humid summer months often cracks or splits, which can damage its structural integrity. This is not as much of a concern for bamboo destined to be yarn since it will be broken up anyway.
Timber bamboo is produced in the following manner:
- After the bamboo is cut down, it is sliced into smaller strips.
- It is first steamed, then boiled, to make it a darker color, if desired.
- The bamboo is inspected and assigned a quality grade.
- It is dried in a kiln for as long as several days.
- The strips are glued together to form boards.
Bamboo yarn is made differently, using the following process:
- The bamboo is cut down and the leaves and inside of the grass, known as the pith, are mixed with caustic soda.
- The plant is crushed into a pulpy substance.
- This pulp is spun into a very thin fiber, about the width of a hair, which can then be made into yarn.
The thinness of the fiber is often credited for the softness of the resulting fabric. The most popular type of bamboo to use for fabric is Phyllostachys pubescens.
One problem with bamboo production is that bamboo can become a nuisance. People who only want to grow a small amount of bamboo will soon realize that it is hard if not impossible to get rid of since it is an invasive plant. People with bamboo farms need to space the plants far away from other crops so that the bamboo does not begin to take over the other fields.