#DYK: How Sustainable Is Bamboo — Is It Truly Eco-Friendly?


Wooden products are fast becoming the 'go-to' options at homes due to several reasons. Firstly, the natural warmth they bring to any space, whether big or small. Secondly, its calming qualities make people feel better in the built environment, as much as in the outdoors. However, traditional woods can be harmful to the environment — think deforestation, soil erosion, loss of biodiversity, among many other adverse impacts. 

Hence, enters the eco-friendly alternative — bamboo. Labelled as the world’s ‘most renewable material’, bamboo is the fastest growing woody plant in the world. If you don’t already know, the Chinese moso bamboo can grow almost a metre a day! This is because bamboo grows in dense forests where little light reaches the ground, and there is strong evolutionary pressure to reach the sunlight as quickly as possible. 

What else do you know about this plant, dubbed as the ‘green steel’? How sustainable is bamboo — what makes it truly eco-friendly? Read on for more fun facts about bamboo — at the same time, our team has also identified some interesting product ideas to inspire your next marketing campaign.

Image 1: A type of grass but classified as a tree, bamboo is one of the most sustainable materials in the world.

Image credit: Guaduabamboo

Interesting bamboo facts for you:

  • The fastest growing land plant.

  • Bamboo is a giant grass — not a plant.

  • Bamboo is edible (most of them); often used in Asian cuisine.

  • There are over 1,500 bamboo species around the world.

  • A natural air-conditioning, bamboo cools down the surrounding air by up to 8 degrees in summer.

  • Bamboo leaves can be made into tea — with a taste similar to green tea.

  • A carbonised bamboo filament was used in Thomas Edison’s very first successful lightbulb.

  • Snakes dislike bamboo; due to its loud mulch whenever they slither through.

Key benefits of bamboo:

  • It regrows naturally from its root system; no replanting required

    after harvesting.

  • Hardly require water, can easily adapt to a range of environments.
  • Releases 35% more oxygen into the air than your average tree.
  • Weighs less than your average tree — transportation of bamboo
  • leaves smaller carbon footprint.
  • Stronger than steel — often used as building material, too.

Source: Bamboo Down Under, Australia

Truth or trend: Is bamboo truly sustainable?
Bamboo is a self-renewing plant which does not require replanting. Its durability and natural resistance makes it a perfect material choice for many products. Today, we see a boom of innovative bamboo products and applications as a sustainable alternative for wood — e.g. clothing, furniture, homewares, gift items, and gadgets, etc.

With all the buzz and frenzy surrounding bamboo, do the benefits measure up to the environmental hype? What does it mean to be truly sustainable?

Image 2: The lasting effects of the forest industry on the environment. Source: timberforestindustry.wordpress.com

If we're looking at its environmental benefits the planting and farming — bamboo certainly ticks all the boxes, as much as a renewable resource is concerned, right? But, hang on. The issue actually lies in the industry that's sprung around it. Unfortunately, not every bamboo product is sustainable because of the manufacturing process involved. To determine whether a bamboo product is truly eco-friendly, there isn't always a straight-forward answer. In a nutshell, we can ask these following questions to find out if a particular bamboo product is indeed sustainable:

  • Where and how is the item shipped from its source location?

  • What are the processing steps involved in producing the item?

  • What are the chemical substances involved in the production? 

  • Will these chemicals negate the benefits of using bamboo as a raw ingredient?

With the increasing demand of bamboo, it goes without saying suppliers will scramble to meet the demand. Precious forests get cut down to make way for plantations, and this gradually impacts the ecosystems. All too often, it is difficult to get answers to these questions, because the supply chain isn't always particularly transparent. Understanding and having the right knowledge about the source of the materials is one of the many key considerations towards sustainability, too.

Therefore, we place significant importance on the 'end-to-end' approach, which we strive to achieve at DTC World from the materials we source to the manufacturing of the products. (You can always read more here, about our company's fair bit towards the worthy cause of a greener planet. Alternatively, just give us a buzz — and we'll fill you in, on how to make better bamboo choices.)

Sustainable marketing: Unique bamboo products for branding
Chaffy products that are not relevant for your target audience — and subsequently end up in the trash bins — are NOT sustainable (in our opinion). While eco-friendly and sustainability are popular buzzwords, it is the smart mix of fun and function, along with sustainable materials sourced, that creates a winning merchandise based campaign. For a start, perhaps you could look for sustainability labels, e.g. FSC, Oeko-Tex, OCIA, to gauge the 'eco-friendliness' of the product.

We're going to take a look at some of the must-have bamboo products, which you could explore, to go plastic-free — and towards a more sustainable choice for your next marketing campaign.

1.  Bamboo Wireless Charger with Pen Holder

Work hard, work sustainably. An eco-friendly alternative that doesn't compromise on style and functionality. Let your brand's green credentials and company values exude through this green and smart gift. It also makes a classy premium corporate swag you can give to your employees.

Convenient, portable and sleek, this compact wireless speaker is an ideal choice for an eco-friendly musical experience. Engrave the bamboo surface with a customised message, a company logo or a preferred artwork to promote your event or marketing campaign.

Convenient and sleek, this hand-held stationery item makes note-taking more eco-friendly. Engrave a personalised message, a company logo or a preferred artwork — and it's your perfect giveaway for promoting events or marketing campaigns.

Bamboo helps absorb as much as 12 tonnes of carbon dioxide per hectre and year. With its speedy growth, it also produces more oxygen than any trees. This eco-friendly facial brush comes with ultrasoft fibres on a bamboo handle. A great promotional gift for beauty brands.

Food-grade glass jar that comes with an airtight wooden lid with silicone gasket to ensure tighter fit. Easy to wash. Available in various sizes. An ideal choice for food brands to spice up their on-pack premiums.

6.  Bamboo Cutting Board

An eco-conscious alternative to plastic headphones, the earbuds and case feature a compact profile so they can easily fit into your pocket, travel pouch or backpack. Laser engrave your logo on the bamboo casing and it is the perfect ready-to-go eco-marketing gift for any campaign!

Trendy hygienic cutting board set one dark bamboo cutting board that also functions as a storage case for four hygienic PP dishwasher-safe cutting boards. Colour-coded index plastic cutting boards with designated symbols to indicate the type of food on the respective board. A great GWP for food brands to promote their next marketing campaign.

Custom bottle openers are key to a successful promotion. Designed with a hanging hole and a contoured midsection, complete with stainless steel trim the eco-friendly bamboo material incorporated in the design gives this bamboo bottle opener an exclusive and sophisticated look. A great event gift for the beer industry.

Make listening to your favourite tunes with charging your phone wirelessly — and effortlessly. Simply connect the included micro cable to your USB charger at home or in the office and you are ready to go. Add a personalised message or logo, and it makes the perfect corporate gift for your employees and clients.

Give the coasters a personalised touch with a laser engraved text or logo. Equally practical and impactful as a giveaway item during any marketing campaign or event.

With this 4-piece set of bamboo kitchen utensils, you’ve got everything you need to whip up a delicious meal. All the utensils — including the holder — are made from sustainable bamboo. Eco-friendly and visually gorgeous, this bamboo cooking set will definitely make any kitchen pop! A brilliant and sustainable option as a redemption gift for marketing campaigns.

Key Takeaway:

Keep the planet in mind when you brainstorm ideas for your next marketing campaign. You would be surprised, sometimes, all it requires is a little bit of creativity and effort — you would still be able to meet your marketing goals — by going 'green'.

It goes without saying, it is still important to offer your customers quality promotional items. Nevertheless, if you could insert the eco-friendly message, we believe this will make your whole marketing campaign more meaningful and successful, in the long run. Create a better world with better brand messaging — and enjoy more sales in the process. Why not.

The good news is, we can take care of that piece for you. Start your journey with us today and explore our approaches and capabilities in helping your marketing efforts garner better outreach to your customers.

For more ideas and inspirations to kickstart your marketing campaigns: