Buying bamboo products are fast becoming an eco-friendly alternative. It is no longer what most people think in the past where the mere mention of bamboo evokes the picture of resilient bamboo trees and sticks. The once lowly grass has become a popular fixture in homes and offices and finds its own niche in the market with a number of products that have been produced out of bamboo.
Some of these products include umbrella, deodorant, hard alcohol, beer, bamboo flooring, beehive, record player needles, bamboo roofing, clothing, and wind turbines. This list is only representative of hundreds of products made of bamboo.
The grass that is known for its resiliency has now become a byword in a world that is facing the threat of extinction due to climate change. Growing bamboo is environmentally friendly since it does need fertilizers and pesticides to grow. It is also known for its oxygen production – releasing 35 percent more oxygen than the same number of trees.
Bamboo is known as an effective barrier to flooding and prevents soil erosion due to its widespread root system.
In terms of sustainability, the bamboo can grow up to 4 feet a day and requires very little to cultivate it. At the same time, it is also a renewable source.
No wonder, the formerly less known bamboo is enjoying the attention it is getting. And most companies are cashing in on this growing market of bamboo consumers.
Buying bamboo products, however, needs careful considerations to ensure that you are getting your money’s worth.
Here are at least five details you should not miss when buying bamboo products.
1. Who Sells?
It is important to know if the company who sells is either an importer or manufacturer. There is a big difference between the two that determines the quality of the bamboo products you are buying.
If the seller is an importer, it is likely that you are not getting the quality you are looking for. An importer tends to buy the products from just any manufacturer without looking into the details of quality control. Sometimes, an importer will buy what is the best price in the market to rake in high profits.
You must be wary of companies with no physical showroom and specializes in online trading. This kind of seller does not have the sense of accountability, which does not bode well for the consumers.
2. Bamboo Products Look Alike But They Are Not The Same
There is a caveat when buying bamboo products: it all look alike but they may not what you perceived it to be. You need to be very careful in examining the quality of the products you are buying. Some companies are good in marketing their products as the “best” you can have in town. And this entails higher prices that its counterpart in the market.
This kind of situation happens because there is no grading or rating system among bamboo products, unlike the traditional wood-based products. Some sellers usually take advantage of this absence of common grading system by charging higher prices at your expense.
3. Hardness Or Softness Of The Bamboo Products
Bamboo products are not actually the same. This is true in terms of its softness or hardness: it can be softer than cotton but it can be harder than oaks. Its softness or hardness is determined by what particular species a bamboo belongs, the age of the raw materials when harvested, and the region it came from.
There are 91 genera and more than 1,000 species of bamboo worldwide.
At the average, a bamboo becomes mature and is ready for harvest when it is 5 to 6 years old while it is still soft when harvested at a younger age, say 3 years old or less. Adding to its quality is the region where the bamboo is planted – the bamboos coming from the mountainous region are harder than those in the lowlands.
4. Kinds Of Finish Coating Used On Bamboo Products
The kinds of finish coating on bamboo products matter. Be aware that most companies opt for the lesser cost to maximize profits. For example, a polyurethane-only finish coating is the cheapest way but the products are less durable. The ideal finish coating is the one that contains aluminum oxide.
Do not be deceived by how it looks like. The quality you see in the product might be just skin-deep. It is no longer a what-you-see-is-what-you-get thing. It would be advisable to have some knowledge on the kind of finish coating being applied. Perhaps, a knowledgeable next of kin might help.
5. Beware Of High Level Of Formaldehyde In Bamboo Products
The adhesive used to keep the bamboo strips together contains formaldehyde. It is important to keep in mind that this substance if present in high level can pose danger to the environment and your health. Formaldehyde is a colorless and flammable gas. Exposure to it may cause adverse health effects.
But what drives most companies to use adhesive with high formaldehyde content? It is simply because the adhesives with high level of formaldehyde are cheaper than the ones with lower level.
It is better for you to look into the manufacturing process of the product you wanted to buy. Things like the safety of the products due to the chemicals involved in the process must be seriously considered.
The absence of industry-wide organization among manufacturers and importers of bamboo products to protect the consumers, workers, and environment should make you doubly concerned when buying these products. Government regulations can come to hold manufacturers accountable to mitigate possible hazards to both human and environment in processing the products.
Bamboo products, ranging from fiber to building materials, are viable alternative to traditional products. But it is still a must for buyers to do some little research if follows the safety regulations and ethical standards of growing and manufacturing.
The next time you’re buying bamboo products, it is wise to keep this checklist in mind.