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Home / Words from the wood / Bamboo: The Material That Can Make Anything*
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!

Fashion Accessories including Bamboo Sunglasses

Bamboo is known for being naturally lightweight, strong, and antibacterial. These qualities make bamboo an ideal material for something that rests on your face all day.

And growing bamboo is remarkably low impact: it takes less room, grows faster, and requires less replanting, fertilizer, and water. Despite this, bamboo forests produce more oxygen than traditional woods.

Bamboo can't quite do it all though. Panda Wear made quite a bit of research and decided to use bamboo wherever they could and balanced the natural beauty of its wood grain with sustainable Portuguese cork as well as recycled metals. Their collection of sunglasses is quite amazing, check it out!

Bamboo 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.


Bamboo 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

Bamboo Bedding Products

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.

Bamboo 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. It also takes less electricity to make a bamboo bike than a metal one. And the frame is completely recyclable

Bamboo bikes can be found mostly in Asia and Africa, although they are gaining popularity in North America as well. The development of bamboo bikes has led to a number of programs that supply these bikes to developing nations. Among others, Ghana Bamboo Bikes Initiative has a great story to tell and share. Learn more about these women making bamboo bikes.

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.

Who knew you could even make Bamboo Mouse?

Bamboo Computer Mouse

Finally, but not least, you can also eat Bamboo for 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.

Vietnamese Bamboo Shoot Soup

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!