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Bamboo: The Material That Can Make Anything*

Bamboo: The Material That Can Make Anything*

Bamboo, we love it, the world loves it and we’re sure that after learning a little more, you will love it too! If you try to name one single material that can be made into everything from food to actual roads and bridges to computer hardware you wouldn’t be giving yourself many materials to choose from. Luckily, we are here to tell you that you can achieve all this with bamboo!

Bamboo is one of the most versatile materials on earth racking up a seemingly unending list of uses! But what makes bamboo so great is not only its many forms and uses, but also the fact that it is extremely eco-friendly and sustainable. Unfortunately, we are at a time when the need for more eco-friendly solutions are required across the board. Now is the time for bamboo to shine!

So to show you how useful and versatile bamboo can be, let’s look at some interesting ways at which bamboo can be used everyday!

Musical Instruments & Equipment

Although mainly associated with wind instruments, bamboo can be used to create many different percussive instruments. Examples include the xylophone and the angklung—an Indonesian instrument comprised of tuned bamboo tubes on a bamboo frame. The instrument is shaken and struck at the same time, creating a percussive and tuneful sound.



Footbridges


Because of it’s durability and strength, bamboo is an easily workable, light and extremely stable building material. It has the capability to withstand huge amounts of weight, making it suitable for footbridges in rural settings. One such example is the Kampong Cham bridge in Cambodia, which connects two islands in the region and is actually known as being the longest bamboo bridge in the world.

In Japan they use bamboo as a main building component. Their footbridges, made with bamboo planks and binding materials cross river systems to enable the travel and commerce of locals living in remote areas


Clothing

Bamboo has become a really popular choice in long lasting, breathable, soft fabrics and is used in to make bedding, underwear, baby diapers, blankets, hats and much, much more.


Bicycles

To make these products, bike frames can actually be grown, with the shape of the bamboo stalks manipulated and shaped into a variety of styles using a method not unlike that of pruning a bonsai tree.

They can be found mostly in Asia and Africa, but are gaining popularity in North America. The development of bamboo bikes has led to a number of programs that supply these bikes to developing nations. This gives greater mobility to residents of remote areas and helps improve their quality of life. Bamboo bike projects also allow people to build their own bamboo bikes, using locally sourced bamboo.



Lunch

…Or dinner, for that matter. Don’t be fooled by it’s tough exterior, bamboo shoots have been a popular food staple across Asia for centuries. Mostly used in stir-fries and served fresh, dried, shredded, pickled, braised, and curried.

Despite its myriad of uses within the culinary world, it’s safe to assume that bamboo’s most appropriate use is in making bamboo beer.

Beer made with bamboo offers a unique flavour and making it requires a process of fermenting the rich natural sugars of the plant’s sap. This drink is naturally enjoyed in Asia where bamboo is plentiful, but is also found throughout Africa (though only during rainy seasons). Is it your round or mine?

This is just a taste of the different uses and forms bamboo can take around the world! It’s an ancient plant that can be taken from our past to help shape our future.

If you have come across any other interesting ways bamboo can be used, let us know in the comments!

*While we do love bamboo, we do accept that it may not be possible to create "anything" with the material, but it gets pretty close!

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