How to Introduce Bamboo Products into Your Lifestyle

Woman laying on bamboo poles; bamboo products

Plus 10 Easy Swaps to Make

Like us, you’re probably pretty excited about seeing more eco-friendly products in the market. We love finding new bamboo products across the shelves because bamboo is such a renewable resource. It’s more sustainable, incredibly versatile, and a great alternative to plastic, cotton, wood, and even steel.

But with so many products to choose from, how do you know where to start? Bamboo may seem mysterious, but making changes to a more sustainable lifestyle with bamboo products is easier than you think.

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    Why Switch to Bamboo Products

    You keep hearing that bamboo is eco-friendly and sustainable, but what does that really mean? What’s so great about this little wonder plant?

    Bamboo Grows Quickly With Little Water and No Pesticides

    Bamboo is a renewable resource and grows up to 7 times more quickly than trees. It doesn’t need to be replanted because it self-regenerates and creates its own fertilizer from dropped leaves (talk about an overachiever).

    Bamboo also needs less water to grow – only about one-third the amount needed to grow cotton.

    It’s Antibacterial and Biodegradable

    The antibacterial properties of bamboo create a natural barricade against bacteria and bugs that try to live on the bamboo plant. These natural antibacterial properties remain through processing making it a great option for antimicrobial sheets and sportswear.

    Because it’s all-natural, bamboo is also biodegradable. The plants will naturally break down, creating a great soil for your garden. Products made entirely from bamboo can be added to your compost bins and will break down in about 6 months.

    Bamboo Improves Air Quality

    A fully grown bamboo tree produces enough oxygen for one person for an entire year while also absorbing 5 times more carbon dioxide than a pine tree. It’s an ideal plant for fighting climate change because of the sheer amount of greenhouse gasses it absorbs.

    While you don’t need to plant bamboo in your yard, you could add a bamboo plant to your home to help reduce benzene, trichloroethylene, and formaldehyde — common indoor air toxins.

    It’s Stronger Than Steel, But Softer Than Cotton

    It may seem impossible, but bamboo is so versatile it can be processed to create strips for wood planks and flooring or crushed up and spun into yarn to make fabrics softer than cotton. The way bamboo is spun together creates a truly luxurious material that is also more absorbent and breathable than cotton.

    The construction industry is already using bamboo as a replacement for steel and concrete because of the low production cost and benefits to the environment. Scientists are also finding bamboo to be more dense and strong than other wood which could help create stronger buildings.

    Bamboo Production Creates Opportunities for Rural Farmers

    One benefit of bamboo that we can’t overlook is that it creates great economic opportunities for farmers in China. Most farmers in China have small spaces for growing which works well for bamboo because it can be harvested so quickly making it more profitable than timber.

    Bamboo can also be grown on abandoned farmland or on hillsides so there’s no need to clear cut forests to grow it.

    What Can Bamboo Be Used to Make?

    If you’re new to bamboo it might seem like something you’d find at an exotic market on the other side of the world. Fortunately, bamboo products have become much more accessible and can be used to make almost anything – from buildings all the way to bedding.

    Here’s a quick look at some of the products bamboo is used to make.

    Personal Care Products

    Bamboo is becoming more popular for personal care products because it’s not toxic (no pesticides!) and biodegradable. Many beauty tools can easily be made from bamboo and are stronger and longer lasting than their plastic counterparts.

    Depending on the item, the bamboo is ground down and molded into the items you find on store shelves like makeup brushes, soap dishes, and bottles.

    Paper Products

    Bamboo is an amazing alternative to reduce our growing paper waste problem. The production of paper products leads to deforestation, air pollution, and approximately 26% of total waste in landfills.

    Luckily, now you can buy single-use or reusable bamboo products to replace toilet paper, paper towels, napkins, and more. The bamboo is processed similarly to traditional paper using a pulp that’s filtered and dried into a paper-like sheet so it feels the same as the products you’re used to.

    Clothing

    While we love to stay on trend, textiles is the second-largest polluting industry in the world after oil and gas. Fashion production makes up 10% of carbon emissions and 85% of all textiles end up in landfills once used. To help combat all this waste, avoid fast fashion and add some bamboo to your closet.

    Bamboo can be made into a variety of fabrics by crushing the bamboo into pulp, softening the fibers with water, and spinning them into yarn. From there it can be used to create just about any apparel – underwear, socks, and even shoes!

    Home Goods

    You may be most familiar with bamboo home goods, especially bamboo cutting boards which have become more popular in recent years. But there are so many other items you can add to your home that are made from bamboo.

    The bamboo plant can be used in various hard forms or soft fibers to create lamps, curtains, and some of our favorite rugs.

    Toys

    More parents are focused on natural and sustainable toys to avoid toxins and to improve the environment for their children (as much as 80% of all toys end up in the landfill). Bamboo toys are long-lasting and make a great gift. They often have a modern, yet classic look like these bamboo nesting sets or bamboo puzzles.

    Furniture

    Bamboo is a perfect material for furniture because of its incredible strength and durability. Whether you’re working from home and want to upgrade your workspace with an eco-friendly desk or just want to seem stylish with a bamboo bookshelf, bamboo is a great option to combine sustainability and design.

    Blankets and Bedding

    It can be hard to imagine something as strong as steel can make for comfortable bedding, but bamboo is one of the softest and most breathable fabrics available. The sheets stay cool and the blankets are softer than cotton.

    Look for bamboo sheets, blankets, and even pillows to help keep you cool and comfortable all night long.

    Electronics and Technology

    There’s something so satisfying about seeing the mix of technology and nature, like two worlds colliding to bring us eco-conscious style. For many electronics, the bamboo is used as a casing which is an amazing alternative to plastic.

    Now it’s easier than ever to find technology and electronics that incorporate bamboo for an office that almost makes you forget you’re stuck inside working. Create a unique look with this wireless charger, these desktop speakers, or grab a bamboo mouse and keyboard.

    Construction Materials

    Bamboo is a common material used in construction, and not just for scaffolding in epic fight scenes (any Shang-Chi fans out there?). It’s often used in home improvement projects to create decking, flooring, and fencing due to its strength and the natural wood-like grain.

    Food and Beverages

    That’s right, bamboo isn’t just the breakfast of champions for giant pandas. You can eat and drink bamboo too! Bamboo shoots have been eaten for thousands of years along with bamboo rice and tea.

    Give bamboo wine or beer a try this weekend (or weekday – we’re not here to judge).

    10 Easy Swaps to Make for a Sustainable Lifestyle

    You may be feeling overwhelmed with all of these bamboo choices. Or maybe you’re like me and just want ALL THE BAMBOO THINGS! Here’s a quick start guide to the best items to swap first to build your new sustainable bamboo lifestyle.

    1. Bamboo Socks

    We’re obsessed with these Bamboo Crew Socks from Cozy Earth. Breathable and moisture-wicking, these super-soft socks are comfortable all year long. They’re the perfect way to literally dip your toes into bamboo products.

    Want to gift the whole family some of this pillowy soft goodness? We’ve shared our favorite bamboo socks for every size and occasion so no one feels left out.

    2. Bamboo Sheets

    If you’ve ever been a houseguest and found yourself sweating to death on flannel sheets in your niece’s bedroom you might find a reason to head home early (ask me how I know).

    If you’re a hot sleeper, a restless sleeper, or just someone who sleeps, bamboo sheets are a must-have. Our top pick has to be the Cariloha Resort Sheets. They have a silky sateen finish and are naturally odor and allergy-resistant. You’ll feel like you are at an actual resort every single night.

    Looking for more options? Check out our round-up of the 8 best bamboo sheet sets to keep you cool.

    3. Bamboo Blankets

    For the colder months, or those evenings you need something to cover your eyes until Steve makes it out of the upside-down on Stranger Things, you’ll want this Bamboo Blanket from Cozy Earth. Cozy Earth has been featured on Oprah’s Favorite Things 4 times because they know how to make everything pillowy soft and long-lasting.

    If you’re interested in weighted blankets, swaddled, or throws, we’ve got you covered in our post about the 6 best bamboo blankets to keep you cozy.

    4. Charcuterie and Cutting Boards

    Whether you’re looking to impress your mother-in-law with a fresh variety of Brie and Gruyère or just need something to slice your pizza on, you’ll love this set of three bamboo cutting boards from Royal Craft Wood. The three board sizes double as serving trays or charcuterie boards for entertaining.

    Bamboo cutting boards also make great gifts. You’ll find a lot of options on the market, but here are our top 3 favorites.

    5. Bamboo Toothbrushes

    Over 1 billion toothbrushes are thrown out every year in the United States alone. Many of these end up in landfills and oceans.

    Since your dentist insists that you change your brush every 3 months, make the swap to a Bamboo Toothbrush from Seek Bamboo. You’ll have a clean smile and be able to compost it when you’re done! You can even add on their Charcoal Toothpaste Tablets or grab the Zero Waste Starter Kit for a fresh and sustainable clean mouth solution.

    Take a look at our top picks for bamboo toothbrushes to find your ideal match.

    6. Toilet Paper

    One of the most impactful swaps you can make is switching to bamboo toilet paper. Toilet paper production is incredibly harmful to the environment with over one million trees cut down every day releasing carbon into the atmosphere. Think of all that clear cutting only to be flushed away.

    The bamboo toilet paper from Who Gives a Crap is a perfect swap because it’s responsibly sourced and sent right to you with carbon-neutral shipping. You might just want to sign up for the auto-ship now because, if 2020 taught us anything, it’s that you don’t want to run out of toilet paper.

    7. Paper Towels

    Did you know paper towels contribute to 254 million tons of waste every year? A great alternative to paper towels is these Kitchen Rolls from Bambooloo. Made from bamboo pulp, these rolls are sustainable, biodegradable, and ship in plastic-free packaging.

    For a reusable option, try the Reusable Plant Towels from Full Circle. These bamboo towels will fit in your paper towel holder, are quick-drying and chlorine-free and every roll replaces 30 rolls of traditional paper towels.

    For other biodegradable or reusable options, take a look at our other favorite bamboo paper towels.

    8. Water Bottles

    You’ve probably heard that over 1.3 billion plastic bottles are used every day – that’s enough to wrap around the earth 190 times in a year. Sadly, only 1 in 6 of these bottles are even recycled.

    If you’re not carrying a reusable water bottle with you yet, it’s time to change your habits. We can’t think of a better choice than the Bamboo Water Bottle from Pangea. The sleek bamboo finish and insulated steel tumbler will have you drinking water just so you can show it off to your friends.

    We’ve also reviewed our favorite budget, insulated or dishwasher-safe bamboo water bottles for you to choose from.

    9. Straws and Utensils

    Single-use plastic leads to 8 million tons of plastic in the ocean every year and straws and utensils are a big factor. In fact, straws are the seventh most collected item during beach clean-ups. To make matters worse, they are easily ingested by birds and wildlife and plastic pollution kills over 100,000 marine animals every year.

    Instead of single-use items, try reusable options like the bamboo utensils from Tare Market. You can mix and match to get the perfect set for your family. For lunch at the office, stash this bamboo lunch set from My Little Panda in your desk drawer so you’ll always have what you need on break.

    10. Hairbrushes and Combs

    Environmentally friendly personal care doesn’t have to mean letting your hair run wild in its just-rolled-out-of-bed state. It just means you can find more eco-friendly tools to have you looking your best.

    The Bamboo Hairbrush from Package Free is made from bamboo, natural rubber, and carnauba wax and is shipped in plastic-free packaging. The natural paddle and pins on the brush create less static in your hair than a traditional plastic brush so you can look as great as you feel. It’s also compostable so when you finally do need to replace it, you don’t need to worry about creating more waste.

    Need something else to tame your mane? Check out our list of the 11 best bamboo hair brushes.

    Every Choice Makes a Difference

    No matter where you start on your sustainability journey, the important thing is to just start. Choose an item that you’re comfortable swapping and make conscious choices from there. The more we speak with our dollars by buying environmentally friendly goods like bamboo products, the more companies will listen and offer these sustainable solutions.

    Which bamboo swap are you ready to make?

    About the Author

    • Renee is a freelance copywriter for businesses and nonprofits that advocate for sustainability, conservation, animal welfare, and health & wellness.

      Her passion for the planet started while growing up in Minnesota surrounded by animals and nature. She now enjoys spending summers at the lake and winters at the ice rink with plenty of yoga, baking, and exploring with her family in between.

      Renee met Mike through a mutual friend and knew writing for Bamboo Goods was the perfect fit. She loves to educate customers on sustainable choices that fit their lifestyle and has (probably) too much fun sharing her eco-friendly tips.

      You can find her writing for purpose-driven businesses at cedarcreekcreativeco.com.