Bamboo’s rapid growth provides tremendous amounts of biomass, which enables it to be used as wood substitute in construction, furnishing or even the paper industry. It is used to reduce deforestation, as 3 to 4 years can be enough for certain species to grow compared to 40 to 100 years for some types of trees… Bamboo is used to prevent land erosion enabling dry land to be reforested or reinforced on fragile and damaged hills’ slopes. It’s roots network (up to 2000km of roots per hectare) increase soil’s bacteria activity while protecting it from the sun and the wind.
It is necessary with some “running” species, known as Leptomorph, to contain them with bamboo barriers to control their spread. Bamboo uses its rhizomes to retain water and protect the land. Its leaves maintain humidity, increasing soil’s hygrometry. Its root’s network enables to retain water as well as giving some back by evapotranspiration.
It filters water and is very efficient for heavy metal absorption. Bamboo is well known and used for its phytoremediation properties (water decontamination), especially concerning lead absorption. It is actually most efficient during its growth, before being completely mature. Bamboo can resist to extreme conditions, it prefers hot and humid climates, but it is capable of growing and adapts itself to high altitudes (up to 4000m in the Himalayas) and very low temperatures (down to -25°C) as well as resists in dry desertic environments !
Farming bamboo or recycling it does not require significant energy inputs. Bamboo grows without needing pesticides or fertilizers, and does not require irrigation like cotton for example. It is flexible and rigid like steel, which makes it very useful for many applications such as scaffoldings that can be as high as several hundred meters high, or stilt houses.
Many advantages for clothing are put forward: antibacterial, hygroscopic, it’s feeling (softness), heat and crinkle resistance, antiperspirant, smell absorption… It is a shame however that the process to make viscose can be criticised in terms of environmental impact as it uses toxic chemicals such as caustic soda, carbon disulphide, sulfuric acid and ammonia hydrochloride !
Bamboo can be eaten, its shoots are well appreciated, it also has medicinal virtues which are very much used in China and in the field of herbal medicine. Some products are actually starting to make their way in Europe !
Bamboo is an extraordinary plant in many ways, COBRATEX has found the technic to include it in high-technology materials, in order to take advantage of its significant environmental impact for the wellbeing of our planet and humanity.