Stop and look around you. We bet you can spot ten items made from plastic in less than a minute (and if not, a big pat on the back for you). Each and every year, approximately 300 million tonnes of plastic waste are produced. We eat and drink from plastic, we keep ourselves clean with plastic, a lot of us even sleep in plastic (look at the label in your bedding, what’s it made from?)
There’s no doubt that avoiding plastic is tough when you live in what has sadly become a plastic world. However, if you’re looking to cut down on that amount of plastic in your life, then there’s a great natural alternative out there. Bamboo!
So what exactly is bamboo — and where does it come from?
Most people hear bamboo and think pandas. And you wouldn’t be wrong, giant pandas subsist almost entirely on the stuff. Whilst bamboo can look tree-like, it’s actually part of the grass family, with over one thousand species. Bamboo grows in several different corners of the world: tropical and subtropical regions of Asia, central China, Africa, Latin America, the southern United States, and even northern Australia.
Bamboo is naturally found in forests as secondary vegetation, although it can sometimes be the dominant vegetation type. In north east regions of India and the mountainsides of eastern African, bamboo often covers thousands of square kilometres.
Bamboo grows in such a diverse range of places because it’s able to tolerate extreme weather conditions that most plants can’t cope with. Some bamboo species can endure temperatures well below -20°C, and an even crazier example of bamboo’s resilience is the fact that it was the only plant to survive the atomic bombings of Hiroshima in 1945.
Bamboo vs alternatives — what makes bamboo the best
We know plastic products aren’t the way to go, but what about other sustainable alternatives, aside from bamboo? What about wood? Wood is natural, renewable, long-lasting and biodegradable. It’s a great material and sometimes the best material for the job (hence we use wood for some of our products). However, bamboo still takes the crown for being the most sustainable overall:
- Whilst trees take at least 10 - 20 years to grow before are ready to harvest, bamboo can be harvested within 3 - 5 years
- Bamboo is incredibly strong and durable, 2-3 times stronger than timber, in fact, and even stronger than steel
- Bamboo doesn’t require irrigation
- It typically grows of its own accord, without the need for replanting
- Bamboo produces 35% more oxygen than trees
- Each year, it can absorb up to 12 tonnes of carbon dioxide per hectare
- It can be grown in a wide range of environments
- It can be easily grown without the use of pesticides or chemical fertilisers
- Bamboo contains a bio-agent (Bamboo-Kun) which is resistant to microbes that could damage or destroy it. As such, bamboo is naturally resistant to pest, bacteria and fungi infestation. These antibacterial properties mean bamboo products have a naturally increased shelf-life
The best bamboo products for an eco-friendlier 2021
If you’re ready to make some sustainable swaps this year, then we’ve got you covered. At KiteNest, we have plenty of lovely bamboo goodies and essentials, helping you to make 2021 a kinder year for our planet:
Toothbrushes. They’re a hygiene basic that we’d struggle to do without, but today, the vast majority of them are made from plastic. And what’s worse is they’re not designed to be long lasting. Plastic toothbrushes are meant to be changed every three months, or sooner if the bristles become frayed or damaged. Your toothbrush may seem small and insignificant, but changing your toothbrush every three months means you should get through at least four toothbrushes each year. Over twenty-five years, well, that’s one hundred plastic toothbrushes that are being thrown away (and you’re just one person!). It’s therefore no wonder that one billion toothbrushes will be thrown away in the United States this year.
Now, you might not be too keen to go back to the cattle bone and horse hair toothbrushes of the 18th to early 19th century, but fortunately for you, KiteNest stock brilliant bamboo alternatives. We even have smaller ones for kids, so the whole family can get on board with this quick and easy sustainable bathroom swap.
Swapping from a plastic comb to a bamboo comb is not only kinder to the environment, but also kinder to your hair. Have you ever noticed how, after brushing with a plastic comb, your hair ends up looking a little bit crazy with frizz? Well, this is because plastic increases the electrical charge of your hair, resulting in static. If you want to wave goodbye to fly-aways and frizziness, bamboo combs (or wood combs) are the way to go. Bamboo has a neutral to negative charge, leaving your locks nice and smooth.
Bamboo exfoliating brushes
Who doesn’t want silky soft skin? There are hundreds upon hundreds of exfoliant products out there, all promising to give us exactly that. However, a lot of them come in plastic tubs and bottles, contain plastic, are made of plastic, or contain parabens and other nasty chemicals that are likely to upset our skin (and the environment).
Exfoliating brushes made from bamboo are therefore a great option (as well as our 100% natural salt scrubs, might we add). They help to detox the body by stimulating the lymphatic system, help to relieve any built-up tension in the muscles, and blast away dead skin cells, leaving behind glowing, smooth, and irresistibly soft skin.
Bamboo nail brushes
A good nail brush is a hygiene essential that we should all be using every single day. You might wash your hands regularly, but dirt, dead skin cells, and bacteria can quickly accumulate beneath your nails (especially if they’re long!). At KiteNest, our nail brushes won’t only do the job, they’ll do it sustainably too. Made from bamboo and coconut husk bristles, this brush can be composted once it’s finished serving you well.
With more than five trillion pieces of plastic already floating about in our oceans, bamboo products are ideal for helping us all to cut down on our plastic usage. Your toothbrush or hair comb might only be small, but even the smallest of changes can be transformative.