Wednesday, July 20, 2011

15 Amazing Uses for Bamboo that will Surprise you!

The uses for bamboo have evolved over thousands of years, stretching across countless cultures. This fast-growing grass continues to be a popular sustainable resource; bamboo’s uses in the 21st century can still surprise you! 

1.  Motorcycle Helmets
You wouldn’t think it, but the durability of bamboo makes it an ideal protective covering for your noggin. This bamboo motorcycle helmet passed E22-05 safety standards in the UK.

2. Weaponry
Bamboo swords and staves (a long stick or staff) have been used for thousands of years—as training implements in the kendo tradition of Japan and in India bamboo staves are constructed for stick fighting, a form of martial arts training.
3. Air Fresheners and Odor-Absorbers
This is an image of a Chikuno cube, a Japanese counterpart to the boxes of baking soda commonly found in refrigerators throughout North America. In addition to odor-absorption, bamboo charcoal also acts a dehumidifier.


4. Alternative Energy
Another ‘green’ use of bamboo is as a building material for alternative energy installations. In many rural settings, like this one in Yangshuo, China, bamboo is a primary material for building waterwheels for hydropower. Bamboo is also used to make blades for wind turbines.
5. Beverages
Eschewing traditional grains like barley and hops, beer made with bamboo offers a unique flavor suitable for your bamboo-derived repast! Making bamboo beer requires a process of fermenting the rich natural sugars of the plant’s sap. This beverage is naturally enjoyed in Asia where bamboo is plentiful, but is also found extensively in Africa, though only during rainy seasons.
6. Bicycles
Bamboo bikes are a union of natural material and a highly innovative industry. The development of bamboo bicycles led to a number of programs that supply such bikes to developing nations. This affords greater mobility to residents of remote areas and helps improve their quality of life. Bamboo bike projects also allow people to build their own bamboo bikes, using locally sourced bamboo.

7. Cars
Not one to ignore the plant’s versatility, engineers and scientists at Kyoto University in Japan have utilized bamboo in the construction of electric cars. Although not the most aesthetically pleasing vehicle, this Kyoto bamboo electric car is representative of the evolution of an emerging industry now highly dependent on plastics.

8.  Computer Hardware
The use of bamboo for aesthetic purposes seems ideal within the world of computers. Given its rustic look and durability, bamboo has been used to enhance computer hardware, making it more than just monochromatic pieces of plastic and metal. Bamboo is used for hard-drive cases, keyboard covers, computer mice and other types of computer hardware.

9.  Fishing Equipment
It comes as no surprise that bamboo—difficult to break yet easy to bend—is commonly used in the construction of fishing poles. But did you know that bamboo is also used as a support for large fishing nets? In some rural settings, such as those found in places like Vietnam, bamboo is used in the construction of fishing boats, too.

10.  Footbridges  
Given its durability and strength, bamboo is an easily workable, light and extremely stable building material. It is an exceptional material that withstands large amounts of weight, making it suitable for footbridges in rural settings. There footbridges made with bamboo planks and binding materials span chasms and river systems to enable the travel and commerce of locals living in remote areas.

11. Health and Beauty Products
When heated, bamboo charcoal is made into a medicinal vinegar, used in places like Japan to treat minor skin conditions like eczema. Bamboo products like this are also known for anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties.
12. Kitchenware

Aside from helping knives stay sharp, bamboo cutting boards are incredibly stylish and much easier to clean than typical plastic cutting boards.

13. Musical Instruments & Equipment
Many of us have seen the bamboo pipes commonly associated with the Greek god Pan, but have you seen bamboo speaker cabinets? The tan hue of the bamboo gives speaker enclosures a rustic look, and are a perfect complement to conventional black speakers.

14. Architecture
Bamboo is the stuff of green dreams these days. Not only is it a winning combination of strong, lightweight and flexible; it also scores highly in the sustainable stakes, being super fast growing and easy to harvest locally in many parts of the world. What's more, it is increasingly being lauded for its aesthetic qualities. None of this is news to any architect worth their salt – but one in particular, Vietnamese virtuoso Vo Trong Nghia, stands out for his exceptional bamboo designs.

15. Clothing
Not content with only making your skin beautiful, bamboo makes beautiful clothing as well. Bamboo has become a popular choice in durable, air permeable, soft fabrics, and is used in to make clothing, bedding, underwear, baby diapers, blankets, bags, hats, and much, much more.

Make sure to discover all of the uses of bamboo that Yala has to offer!

Meehan, Chris. 19 Interesting Ways We Use Bamboo. Build Direct Green Blog. March 14, 2010.


  1. This is awesome, I would have never thought that bamboo could be used to make Motorcycle Helmets. Where can I get one!?

  2. Bamboo helmet design is looking very nice. Its color is very beautiful. Your article is very informative.