Bamboo Benefits: The Sustainable Superhero We Need 🎍

Author:  Lauren Plug

Sustainable Superhero or Eco-Hype? Why Bamboo Shoots Out Above The Rest 

Bamboo stalks close up with engravings

Scott Murdoch/ Burst 

Is bamboo sustainable or just sus? 

Just as quickly as bamboo seemed to have popped up in all eco-friendly products, so did the controversy around the material itself. 

But what is it? A tree? A fabric? A food? An aggressively invasive species? Yes. 

Bamboo is a sustainable superstar! Materialistically it makes a great alternative to plastic and can be used in everything from building materials, household products, furniture, food, and much more. The main reasons that make it so good for the environment as well are:

  • It grows incredibly fast
  • Doesn't require pesticides or fertilizers
  • And it’s naturally regenerative

It’s practically perfect in every way, right?

But the answer, as with most things sustainable is… It's complicated.  


So as your trusted sustainable resource, we had to jump in because there are both pros and cons to bamboo! The truth is overconsumption and mismanagement can quickly outweigh the benefits of even the most sustainable material. 

But when used correctly, bamboo can be the true superhero of sustainability. 

What Makes Bamboo A Sustainable Rockstar

Our job and purpose in life is to bring you and your family eco-friendly, affordable, and safe household products. So after a ton of research into the material and manufacturers, it was a no-brainer for us to use bamboo for our PFAS and tree-free toilet paper and paper towels

But there is no miracle material that can grow us out of the climate crisis. Change starts with rethinking our habits and repurposing our favorite products (see what we did there?). Bamboo is a great material to start with, here’s why.

Tree-Free 

panda bear mid bite on a bamboo stalk eating a different kind of bamboo than whats used to make products

Kirandeep Singh Walia/Pexels

Bamboo is not actually a tree. It’s a tall-grass with over 1,400 different types of species. 

Which means that the bamboo products you’re using are not panda food. *deep sigh of relief*

Since bamboo isn’t a tree, it matures in a fraction of the time. It can be harvested without depleting resources and leaves trees to continue growing peacefully. 

A ‘regular’ tree takes 20-30 years to reach maturity before it can be used for lumbar. Bamboo on the other hand is one of the fastest growing plants in the world. Some species grow as fast as one meter per day (that's 3 feet U.S.) and reach full maturity in 5 years. 

Fast Growing & Low Maintenance

When a tree is cut down, it dies. 

  • It stops producing oxygen
  • The root system is gone
  • And a new tree needs to be replanted

Bamboo is a perennial grass which means it regrows just like the grass in your yard. 

It also means it doesn’t die when harvested so:

  • It continues to produce oxygen
  • Its deep roots continue to increase soil quality and absorb carbon
  • And it continues to grow new shoots

In fact, harvesting bamboo is good for the plant as it helps it produce new (and better) yields each year. 

On top of it being so easy to grow, bamboo is a hearty plant and fairly pest-resistant. Because of this, it doesn't need (or needs minimal) chemical help from pesticides and fertilizers 

Consumes Less Water

Bamboo is drought-tolerant and requires minimal watering or irrigation.

Thriving in diverse climates not too far from the equator across Africa, Asia, the Americas, and Australia, its 1,000+ species have extensive root systems that have grown to work in harmony with their native environments over the centuries. 

This gives bamboo plants the ability to store rainwater, eliminate additional irrigation needs, and ultimately save water that can be used for the community. 

Stabilizes & Filters

While the plant as a whole needs minimal water, the roots create a network under the ground. This net helps to stabilize the soil and prevent erosion which is bad for the land and bad for agriculture. 

The network of roots also acts as a filtration system. As water passes through the soil and roots it filters out toxins and contaminants before they reach a larger body of water. 

Absorbs CO2 & Carbon Sink

All plants absorb CO2 and create oxygen, but carbon sinks capture and store massive amounts of carbon dioxide.

Forests and oceans are Earths’ major carbon sinks. Anytime a tree is cut down (or burned) it releases its stored carbon back into the atmosphere. The older the tree, the more carbon released which is why forest fires and deforestation are incredibly dangerous.

North America’s largest carbon sink is Canada’s Boreal Forest. Unfortunately its biggest threat today is logging for the United States’ consumption of toilet paper, paper towels, and facial tissues. 

Because bamboo can be harvested without harming the root structure, the CO2 it’s storing never gets released into the atmosphere. Additionally, a grove of bamboo can create 30-35% more oxygen than a tree-forest of equal size — which is why bamboo is our preferred material! 

Biodegradable & Compostable 

Repurpose’s bamboo products are not recyclable. Not because of bamboo but because neither paper towels or toilet paper (of any material) can be recycled. If they’re not over-contaminated with food, grease, or water, the fibers are simply too short to be able to be remade into another product. For other bamboo products, confirm that your local municipality can process them before recycling. 

Bamboo is both biodegradable and compostable (when free of added harmful chemicals) and will eventually decompose in a landfill (it just might take awhile).

By choosing bamboo, you're reducing new plastic from being created, protecting trees and their habitats (and the carbon they store), and supporting growing composting efforts (9 states as of 2024!).

Socio-Economic Benefits

Bamboo can be an employment and income generating source while providing economic development to the communities where bamboo grows naturally. 

By investing in fair-trade and sustainably harvested bamboo and practices we can help both people and planet by empowering communities and protecting the environment.  

How Is Bamboo A Renewable Resource

One bamboo stalk in a glass vase with water showcasing how large and extensive the roots are of just one plant

Zen/Pexels

One of the key factors behind bamboo's sustainability is its incredible regenerative ability.

For anyone who has attempted to remove a bamboo plant from a yard, you know it doesn’t go away easily. 

Because it’s a speed-grower, doesn’t die when cut down, and thrives on being harvested it basically regrows itself! 

This is not only great for us who can use bamboo to make everything from toilet paper to wood flooring to food but it’s good for the soil, the groundwater, and even the air.

  1. Bamboo can help to heal the soil, put nutrients back, and keep it healthy.
  2. It prevents wasted water by using and holding on water super efficiently.
  3. Its strong root systems protect the soil and can prevent landslides and soil erosion.
  4. Bamboo cleans the air not only by releasing oxygen from photosynthesis but also by absorbing carbon dioxide into its roots. 

But as we mentioned earlier, using bamboo isn’t all butterflies and rainbows. Just as with anything, exploitation is still exploitation.

The 5 Major Downsides To Bamboo

Lack Of Certifications

Repurpose bamboo products are FSC certified, but outside of that certification there are few ways of measuring the quality of bamboo. 

Without certifications, people are left to their own devices meaning they can absolutely use pesticides and fertilizers on their bamboo groves even though they don’t need it. 

Deforestation

Because of the increasing demand for bamboo products, it is not out of the question that people will clear land and existing forestry to plant bamboo. Not only does that destroy the biodiversity and habitats that existed there, but bamboo is extremely difficult to remove once planted. 

Look for the FSC-certified label which tells you the bamboo was grown and harvested responsibly and ethically (no clear-cutting here!). 

Mono Culturing

Deforestation destroys plants and ecosystems that have existed for centuries, perhaps millenniums. Rarely do plants grow in isolation in the natural environment. 

Just one tree can act as life-support to a ton of other organisms. When land is cleared to make a bamboo plantation, the natural biodiversity is lost, which hurts the soil, makes the plants more susceptible to disease, and can even reduce the yield. 

This could create a ‘need’ for pesticides and fertilizers that it doesn't need in the first place. 

Invasive species

Whether for a backyard or a new grove/plantation, bamboo is an incredibly invasive species. Once it’s planted, it will be incredibly difficult to remove, and it will grow like crazy. 

Added chemicals 

If you’ve read this far you clearly see how wonderful of a material bamboo is, but the process isn’t perfect and the default manufacturing techniques still involve the use of harsh chemicals.

As much as it pains us to say, this is why it’s important to research a brand before blindly making a purchase. 

Bamboo Toilet Paper & Paper Towels For You & For The Planet

Obviously we’re obsessed with bamboo, and we’re really proud of our PFAS-free line of bamboo products

So here’s why we 💚our bamboo collection. 

Free From Harsh Chemicals

Bleach isn’t going to make them work any better! So we left out chlorine, PFAS, & BPA from our toilet paper and paper towels. 

Zero Plastic

Plants over plastic will always be our mission. For sanitary purposes, the rolls need to come individually wrapped but both are wrapped in recyclable (or compostable) paper wrapping. 

Biodegradable & Compostable

Two slightly different meanings, both together means our TP is septic-safe and the paper towels (and their packaging) are backyard or industrial compostable. The TP is too if you swing that way 😉

Thicker, Stronger, Absorbent AF 

Our TP is 3-ply (which means soft AF) and our paper towels are 2-ply. Both are safer for you, safer for the planet, and better at their job than the conventional store brands. 

PFAS-Free 

We not only eliminated PFAS from our vocabulary (unless we’re sharing about why PFAS are the worst) but you won’t find it in any of our products as we replaced it with an even more effective bio-based polymer. Not to brag, but we were the first to do so! 



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