A quick perusal of the tags on this blog will show that we talk a lot about bamboo and its place in our eco-conscious design. You may have wondered how a product made from wood could possibly be eco-friendly. Aren't environmentalists supposed to save trees, not cut them down?
Many of you may have already known that bamboo is a grass, not a tree. If you're like me, though, that fact can be hard to keep in mind when dealing with panels of solid bamboo plywood. There is something conceptually counterintuitive about a grass being used in a similar manner to hard woods. Bamboo is a worthy building material despite being a grass because it has a surprisingly high tensile strength, splits straight, and has a strong cross section.
It may be sturdier and harder than its fellow grasses, but harvesting bamboo is in many ways more like mowing the lawn than deforestation. Like the grass of a rugby field, bamboo will regrow from roots and so doesn't need to be replanted. Trees die when chopped down, but bamboo just sends up new chutes. I can assure you that bamboo is hardy. I once was part of a restoration project trying to remove all plant species not native to Oregon from a watershed area. A tiny patch of bamboo had roots so tough that we broke pick axes trying to cut and pry them out. If we hadn't brought in serious power tools, the bamboo would have recovered at a remarkable rate. Bamboo is one of the world's fastest growing plants. In optimal conditions, some varieties can grow almost four feet in a twenty-four hour period. The more common rate of four inches a day is still impressive, and is plenty to make bamboo an eminently sustainable resource. Bamboo only requires 3-7 years to be mature enough to harvest, as opposed to 20 years for even most quick growing trees.
The traits that make bamboo a royal pain of a weed if it is somewhere unwanted are the same traits that make it a fantastic resource to grow on purpose. Bamboo's resilience and rapid growth rate (as well as its aesthetic qualities) are why we love bamboo as much as our beloved gerbil, Pepper. Plywerk is proud to offer a quality product that has a minimal impact on the environment, and we hope you'll be just as pleased to display our responsibly produced bamboo art panels in your home.