Don’t fall for the marketing hype. Bamboo flooring companies are out to make money, and in today’s world of environmental awareness bamboo’s fast growth cycle provides an opportunity they can’t resist. But to say that bamboo flooring is eco-friendly just because it is a rapidly renewable resource is a gross oversimplification.
First, the good point: bamboo is a 100% natural plant that fully matures and hardens within 7 years. However, bamboo companies add chemical fertilizers and pesticides to speed up growth, which can harm the environment, and harvest the crop as early as 3 months, long before it has had a chance to harden into a suitable flooring material.
This constant harvesting leads to a major problem: erosion. This problem is further aggravated when bamboo companies clear out large sections of natural forests to make way for bamboo plantations. Not only does this increase erosion, but it also decreases biodiversity and creates a monoculture that is not healthy for the ecosystem.
When it comes time to actually manufacture the bamboo flooring, lots of toxic chemicals are used in the process. These chemicals can be harmful not only to the environment, but also to your own health. Additionally, because the bamboo flooring industry is based almost entirely in China, the final product must be shipped across the Pacific Ocean. This consumes a lot of fuel and creates lots of carbon emissions.
Finally, because bamboo flooring is highly vulnerable to scratches and dents, and impossible to refinish, its lifespan is unimpressive. When the floor is replaced, all those toxic chemicals will end up in landfills, and you will have to buy more flooring, which means more harvested wood.
In the end, yes, bamboo is a rapidly renewable resource, but poor management and production practices and a low-quality product outweigh this advantage. If you want a truly eco-friendly floor, take a look at Staybull Flooring®. This unique brand of flooring takes recycled wood scraps and, using only 100% environmentally safe procedures, creates a one-of-a-kind product.