We've talked about the pros and cons of bamboo here before, when the FTC decided to crack down on green claims about bamboo fabrics. Now, eyes are turning to products like furniture and flooring made from the fast-growing grass.
The Boston Globe published an editorial that talked about some of the problems with the bamboo industry.
The article cited "overharvesting, treatment with non-green chemicals, and shipping across the globe" as just some of the things that consumers need to keep in mind when looking at bamboo products.
There's also the issue of how manufacturers turn the grass into usable planks for things like flooring and cabinetry. Since it's hollow in the center, you can't just cut planks like with traditional wood products. Instead, it's cut into strips which then get glued together, often with very toxic adhesives.
Fortunately, none of this has to rule bamboo out as an eco-friendly building material. It just means that we as consumers need to be diligent in finding out where products are coming from and learning about the different certifications.
I've got to tell you, I looked high and low for information on bamboo certification for building purposes and had a really tough time turning anything up! The Forest Stewardship Council did certify one sort of bamboo flooring. It also looks like a company called Scientific Certification Systems also has certified some bamboo flooring.
In the face of very little information about certification, though, I was hoping to turn to you guys! Does anyone have information on certifications for bamboo that are trustworthy or ones that are all greenwash?
Bamboo. Creative Commons photo by xJavierx