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What products can be made from bamboo? Clients frequently ask us about the different uses of bamboo, but the better question would be: What cannot be made from bamboo? Or as the ancient Asian saying goes: "A man is born in a bamboo cradle and goes away in a bamboo coffin. Everything in between is possible with bamboo!"
It's true though, from edible bamboo shoots to construction, medicine, bamboo fabric or biofuel it is all been done before. For the past 15 years, bamboo experts have been experimenting with the multiple uses of bamboo and are still discovering new applications everyday, bamboo fiber for the garment and automotive industries, flooring boards, veneers as thin as 0.2 mm, are just some of many examples.
Bamboo panels, especially floors, are more and more in demand all over the world, because they have the texture of marble and the elegance of wood; in addition, they are strong, durable, smooth, clean, non-sliding and resistant to humidity.
A short film commissioned by INBAR for the World Expo in Shanghai, profiling bamboo - and its many innovative uses as a strong, lightweight, sustainable, carbon capturing material, including surfboards, bikes and building materials.
The challenges we face today is to further improve and innovate the uses of bamboo. Since bamboo is the fastest growing plant on earth and a sustainable building material, it could easily substitute all known wood applications without having to cut down entire bamboo groves or plantations. Better yet, bamboo continuously grows after harvest without having to re-plant it. Bamboo also converts about 35% more CO2 into oxygen than a regular tree.
The bamboo products we see on the market today, are just the tip of the iceberg, we predict that more and more innovative bamboo applications will enter the consumer markets rapidly. Therefore it is an exciting era to live in if you are also a firm believer of how bamboo can contribute to a greener and cleaner environment. We can't change our consumption based economy, but we can certainly change the resources we use and the way we manufacture our products!
Below is a list of common uses for bamboo. Please note that not all bamboo species are suited for every single application. Some species are edible while most are not, some can be used as structural timber while other only serve for ornamental use or pulp.