Following my previous posts on cork and linoleum, this week’s eco-friendly flooring spotlight focuses on bamboo. Chances are you’ve heard of bamboo as a “green” material, but why is this? And is it always eco-friendly?
Many tout bamboo – which is used in building materials, home furnishings, and even textiles – as “green” because it grows very quickly, is naturally pest resistant, and doesn’t require much water. A bamboo plantation is more rapidly renewable than a hardwood forest. Used for flooring, bamboo is also durable, water resistant, and beautiful.
Most of the bamboo we use in the US was harvested in China, however, so there is some concern about its carbon footprint as well as the effects of rapid bamboo expansion in that country (such as clear cutting, soil erosion, fertilizer use). Concern has also been expressed over the chemicals used in the manufacture of some bamboo floors.
How can you be sure that your bamboo flooring was produced responsibly? Check out this article from Building Green and seek out manufacturers and distributors that address these issues. Also look for bamboo that’s free of formaldehyde, which can be dangerous to factory workers and your home.