Bamboo: The Perfect Material?

Bamboo could help reverse climate change while replacing less environmentally-friendly materials.  

Bamboo is one of the fastest growing plants in the world. Classified as a grass, bamboo can grow up to 3 feet in a day or 1.5 inches in an hour. It’s a renewable resource that can be harvested between one and five years, unlike some hardwoods that can take up to forty years to mature.

Bamboo creates a significantly smaller carbon footprint in both production and harvest as compared to hardwoods. It needs little to no fertilizer, pesticides or herbicides to grow. In fact, bamboo produces more oxygen and absorbs more carbon dioxide than trees so its crops are actually helping to combat climate change. 

According to the New York Times article In Africa’s Vanishing Forests - the Benefits of Bamboo, bamboo can grow on land that is not suitable for other farming and it’s root system stays in place after harvesting, alleviating the need for new planting. In addition to being a crop that can provide income from formerly un-farmable land it also reduces soil erosion with it’s widespread root systems and even can prevent mudslides. 

When the measured against plastic there is no contest in terms of bamboo's more eco-friendly qualities. Not only does plastic release toxins into the environment during production it also never biodegrades but instead breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces eventually making it's way into our food and water sources. 

In terms of practical applications, "It’s strong as steel in tension, and stronger than concrete in compression” reports the Permaculture Research Institute. "It’s cheap. It’s easy to work with because it’s so much more lightweight than wood, concrete, or steel; it has a huge strength to weight ratio advantage, mainly because of the hollowness of its cylinder shape."

Leaders in positive environmental change and in innovative design are discovering new applications for this ancient plant. Here are a few of our favorites:

PLUS ULTRA Featured in Microsoft's Youthspark Program

In the early days of the brand, PLUS ULTRA was honored to be a part of Microsoft's Youthspark program. The initiative was produced by GOOD Magazine and was designed to inspire young entrepreneurs. 

Since it's inception, PLUS ULTRA has grown and changed. We've improved our product and our supply chain. We're now using paper certified by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative and Forest Stewardship and printing it with plant based inks. We replaced our inner plastic sleeve with Bio-PET, a material that is 30% sugar and 70% PET.

Another big change we made was that we used to promote our product as being 100% biodegradable. We learned that even if we used compostable bristles that nylon isn't something we want in our soil. 

PLUS ULTRA is still aspiring to be an zero-waste toothbrush - but we're not there yet. If you have ideas let us know! All this being said we still like sharing this video because we love encouraging people to follow their dreams, like Christina did.