10 Jan Bamboo as a substitute for plastics.
Single-use plastics are one of the most serious ecological problems facing the planet. The uncontrolled development of the petrochemical industry, producing materials whose impact on the environment was initially unknown (and whose true magnitude is still totally unknown), shows us every day its impact on ecosystems inhabited by humans and beyond, especially from dramatically in the oceans.
According to WWF, of the ten most harmful single-use plastics, at least three are directly substitutable for bamboo in its natural cane form (with minimal processing), while the other seven can be replaced by equivalent bamboo-derived products such as paper or composite materials (‘composites’, materials consisting of fibers or particles and a matrix) using bamboo fibers. These alternatives free us from centuries of waste that cannot be assimilated into the environment after a single, brief use.
Straws and sticks to hold inflatable balloons are noteworthy because of their striking macroscopic impact on the marine environment and because the obvious usefulness of bamboo canes for these purposes is leading its use even in places where they are not found as a local resource.
Compared to synthetic polymers, commonly called plastic materials, the cellulose that forms the wall of plant cells is a natural polymer. In bamboo, the microscopic distribution of these cells in its plant tissue, placing the fibers (sclerenchyma cells) around the vascular ducts and phloem, and locating the parenchyma cells between them, results in a unique natural compound. In other words, it is nature itself that makes reinforced tubes grow from a natural polymeric biocomposite.