Bamboo: The best material for sustainable product design
Switch materials and save trees from wasteful use in business sectors
If you are involved in branding such as packaging, point-of-sale and other merchandising, then switching from plastic to more environmentally friendly materials might seem a challenge. Plastic still offers great flexibility at the inception stage through to production. In addition to this, its value for money in mass manufacture makes switching less attractive.
Luckily, innovation in industry often gains momentum in times of crisis or threat and now climate change is our catalyst. We are under more pressure than ever to respond to social and political pressure to design ethically.
Above: Vegware Gourmet Range is made from bagasse reclaimed sugarcane fibre and PLA, a renewable material made from plants.
Fast-growing plants pave the way in packaging solutions
For example, the manufacturing supply chain is slowly seeing a variety of protective packaging made from plant-based ingredients. Vegware, a Scottish-based company, have been championing the way for sustainable and eco-friendly catering disposables for years and they are the global specialist in compostable plant-based foodservice packaging.
The carbon-capture capability of bamboo makes it a prime candidate for industrial design
Bamboo is a plant which offers scope for sustainable product design. It grows abundantly without fertilizers or pesticides. In addition to this, species such as Moso can sequester (store) from around 100 to 400 tonnes of carbon per hectare (for more detail visit INBAR: https://www.inbar.int/understanding-bamboos-climate-change-potential/)
We are all familiar with bamboo chopsticks, cutlery and straws. A simple piece of bamboo pole can be formed into the most refined matcha tea whisk, as seen in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ENlUbRObevg . There is no doubt that awareness of the versatility of bamboo is increasing as the consumer is familiar with everyday household items such as these.
The Luxury goods market can take positive steps towards more ethical packaging
Making the swap from MDF, hardwood and softwoods to bamboo is easier than you might think. This is a viable material for manufacturing containers for new products and other merchandising, as pictured below. The side-pressed boards can be cut into various shapes, routed and laser engraved. Surface pattern and logos can also be added.
Bamboo ply boards are suited to commercial and residential applications
A solid 3-ply and 5-ply bamboo board can form the basis for a really sturdy piece of furniture. The boards can be joined effectively with biscuit joints, cam bolts, and other traditional woodworking techniques. They have been used to manufacture room partitions, meeting room pods, shop-shelving and display units.