Saturday, July 27, 2013

Bamboo Is the New Flax

About twenty years ago, flax became extremely popular, especially compared to another natural fiber, hemp. Since you can’t smoke flax, other uses had to be found for this plant. Flax became a leading fiber of choice for clothing, thanks largely to the eponymous brand. It also showed up in soft goods for the household and in other items of décor.

Now we’re in a new millennium, a new century, and two decades beyond flax. I’ve discovered that bamboo is the new flax. I cannot believe what items are touted as being made from bamboo. I would expect to see it in housewares and décor—in things like baskets and placemats, and tiki lights and wind chimes. Can you believe there are companies selling sink backsplashes made from bamboo? Wouldn’t they get mildewed when wet?

Worse, I think of bamboo as a product that is brittle and throws off splinters easily. That quality has made me sit up and take notice at some of the products I uncovered. Cutting boards and salad bowls, while not totally outrageous on their face, would have me worried about using ones made from bamboo. If I find fiber in my salad, I want to have put it there.

But what really made me stop dead in my mental tracks was an ad in a recent Tuesday Morning flier for bamboo sheets. Yes, sheets. Would you roll around on sheets made from a product that sheds sharp little pieces of itself? I don’t care how fine the “thread count” is; you won’t find me buying bamboo bedding. No way. No how.

Bamboo is showing up outside of home goods, too, but some of those uses are not that surprising. Bamboo bicycles must be very light and easy to pedal around town. Sunglasses and yoga mats don’t seem like a stretch, though leggings might be. The names of some of the companies selling this stuff are noteworthy, too. There’s Bambooki and Boo Bamboo and BumBoosa, for instance. (More on that last one later.)

Electronics accessories is an area that seems to be one of the post popular uses. There are bamboo laptop cases, USB flash drives, PC keyboards and mice. Impecca makes a hand-carved designer bamboo mouse that’s available in cherry, walnut, espresso or natural colors. You can choose from 23 different IPhone cases that SigniCASE offers in bamboo.

I can see that none of this has you itching and scratching. Well, how about this: bamboo hair and beauty products, like the Bamboo Charcoal Face & Body Soap Bar. Or the revitalizing hair conditioning treatment. Or the products for eyelashes and eyebrows. I’m clumsy enough trying to put on mascara. I wouldn’t want to have to worry about splinters in my eyes, too.

Still not skeeved out by any of these products? Here’s my absolute favorite bamboo items you can now buy from BumBoosa. Diaper liners, baby wipes and toilet paper rolls (individually wrapped—zero plastic!) These are guaranteed bio-friendly products. The baby wipes are even award winning. Non-synthetic and “tree-free.” Users of the TP describe it as “eco-luxurious.” BumBoosa claims it’s “processed using the thermo-mechanical pulping method.” Who can resist whatever that is?

I’ll tell you who: I can. I’m sure I’m just showing my own ignorance. Toilet paper comes from trees after all. Or maybe I’m just too set in my ways, now that I’m retired. It doesn’t matter what I think anyway. The rest of the country seems to be hopping on the bamboo bandwagon.

Suddenly I have a vision: Procter and Gamble decides to switch their sourcing for Charmin to bamboo. Those commercials we see everywhere with the blue cartoon bears cleaning their bums? Gone. The new ones feature pandas. Chewing on bamboo shoots on one end, wiping their tushies with bamboo TP on the other. Is this a great country, or what?

No comments: