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Viewing bamboo from a circular economy perspective

bamboo - climateaction

Viewing bamboo from a circular economy perspective

Hello readers.

Welcome to #CircularTuesday on CleanbuildVoices!

The circular economy concept has gained much traction since issues of climate change and sustainability took over global conversations.

This is because it entails designing products, services, and supply chains that are regenerative, i. e. it generates less waste, hinges on renewable resources and energy, and keeps materials and products in use for as long as possible.

For the fact that bamboo and its products, just like the circular economy, are driven by nature-based materials and renewable resources, it, therefore, becomes important to take a look at their potentials.

Making a case for bamboo

Bamboo has great potentials in a circular economy in a number of ways:

Apart from its carbon-capture and rapid regenerative tendencies, bamboo serves as a feasible, bio-based alternative for materials that are carbon-intensive and non-renewable.

By using technology to separate and turn them into fibers, strips, particles, and slivers, many commodity industries create a wide range of durable and consumer products like paper, pulp, textiles, pellets, furniture, and building materials.

For example, bamboo products used for flooring, cladding, decking as well as other construction materials, perform similar roles with many common building materials like aluminum, steel, and PVC but have a far lower carbon footprint than them.

Bamboo also makes a great substitute for plastic because it has a lifespan that is long enough to enable quick regeneration, is 100% bio-based and biodegradable.

From cutlery, cups, single-use bags, straws, to other products like cases for gadgets, beauty and health products, etc., it truly has endless circular economy potentials.

The great part is that bamboo products can be repurposed and recycled at the end of their lifecycle, or burned and processed into different types of biomass-based energy like gas, charcoal, and pellets which can be used for heating, cooking, and generating electricity.

Bottom line

It is proven beyond doubt that there is more use for bamboo in the circular economy beyond its carbon sequestration and flood-controlling tendencies.

It, therefore, becomes crucial for industries to invest more in the planting and harvesting of bamboo and exploring ways in which it can be used to make products without chemicals that would defeat its renewable qualities.

The furniture industry for example uses chemicals and coating to preserve bamboo furniture making it difficult to repurpose and recycle and as such, makes burning it the only option for degradation.

It, therefore, becomes important for governments and organizations to incentivize research as well as production to encourage more renewable solutions for it and its end products.

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