Why are most paper products unsustainable?
If your paper product does not state that it is ‘100% post-consumer recycled’, then most likely the product you’re using is made from virgin paper, which requires large areas of forest to be cut. While it may seem that North American forests should be sustainably managed by now, deforestation continues to pose severe problems like ecosystem destruction, habitat loss for wildlife, and climate change.
Because they take massive amounts of co2 from the atmosphere and produce oxygen for us to breathe, forests represent a major carbon sink for the planet. The moment they are cut down a great deal of stored carbon is released into the atmosphere, and very little carbon is then sequestered over the decades that it takes the forest to grow back.
Why is bamboo more sustainable than wood?
Bamboo is a grass, and can grow back to maturity within just 2-5 years after being cut down. Due to this fast regeneration rate, cutting down a large area of bamboo doesn’t impact the surrounding ecosystem as significantly as cutting down a forest.
Some species of bamboo can sequester up to 6 times more carbon compared to a similar-sized tree forest.
Bamboo sequesters 70% of its carbon in its root system, meaning that when the bamboo is harvested it does not release nearly as much carbon as trees do. This means it is still considered a carbon sink as the majority of the carbon is maintained in this root system.
Bamboo releases approximately 35% more oxygen than most tree species.
All of this combined makes increased bamboo production an intriguing option to mitigate climate change.
Are there any disadvantages to bamboo?
Bamboo is grown in Asia, South America, and Africa. Each country that produces bamboo has its own regulations regarding farming, harvesting and manufacturing, and it can be difficult to know which bamboo farms are being harvested sustainably because this information is not readily available.
At Compostable.ca we are doing everything we can to offer the full range of sustainably harvested bamboo products currently available on the market.