Can we grow bamboo in the UK?
Bamboo is the world’s fastest and most sustainable eco-friendly material. But why do we import ours from Vietnam and why do most other companies do the same? Can’t bamboo be grown in the UK?
The answer has several parts, so let’s break it down, but firstly, yes, bamboo can be grown in the UK. Bamboo requires sun and water to grow. Mountainous regions are best, but bamboo can also be grown in other parts of the world if cared for correctly.
Is it energy efficient to grow bamboo in the UK?
Bamboo requires a lot of sun and water to be grown in abundance. If bamboo doesn’t receive the right amount of water and sun then it won’t grow as quickly or as plentifully.
In areas of the world such as Vietnam, bamboo is grown high atop local mountains where it receives ample sun and water, direct from nature.
In the UK, these conditions are created artificially by feeding the bamboo and using water to grow it and even with this additional source of nourishment the bamboo still can’t be grown as quickly as in the tropics, simply because the amount of water it would take to compete with the natural ecosystem in Vietnam would be tremendous!
Although bamboo straws and cutlery made in Asia are transported across the world, they can be shipped using low-impact sea freighting and made using minimal water and no artificial lighting.
Can bamboo be grown in the UK at scale?
Bamboo is native to Asia and conditions in Asia are perfect for growing bamboo. In the same way that British lamb or Spanish pork is considered tastier than alternatives in other countries, Vietnamese bamboo is considered stronger and better than other species.
In order to grow bamboo in the UK at the scale that is required to satisfy the country’s need for drinking straws we would have to use an insurmountable quantity of water.
The climate and topography in the UK simply doesn’t allow for vast bamboo forests as much as we wish it would!
What species of bamboo is used to make bamboo straws and cutlery?
Bamboo species grown in the Thanh Hoa region of Vietnam is special in the bamboo world. It is strong, long-lasting and hollow. Perfect for straws.
Bamboo species grown elsewhere will be different and not necessarily suitable for drinking straws.
Should bamboo be grown in the UK?
We love and support anyone who is trying to make a difference by producing sustainable products whether that is in the UK or elsewhere. But the problem is bigger than just our little island. We need to think about plastic waste and sustainability on a global scale and use the resources that the Earth has so kindly given us.
Bamboo can be grown in the UK, but could we ever grow enough?