A critique of the green credentials claimed for bamboo flooring
From an article by The Maple Flooring Manufacturers Association (of the USA)
(Please be aware that in posting this I am not knocking bamboo flooring (which I think is great) but providing information that could be useful for anyone who wants to look into the environmental impact of their choice of flooring material. I think that it contains useful information that needs to be read in the context that it has been provided by an organisation that is competing with bamboo flooring for sales. There is a need to consider the environmental costs of timber flooring as well.)
Bamboo is planted and grown at the expense of other diversified species, even to the extent of clear cutting rain forests to expand growing areas. It is not uncommon to cut down existing trees and replace them with bamboo. Because there is no organization governing bamboo, such as the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), no one can ensure bamboo has been harvested in a sustainable fashion. Most bamboo flooring sold in North America is produced in the southern Chinese province of Hunan, an area known as "the bamboo sea", where the bamboo forests are owned by the government, and individuals or companies can obtain contracts to harvest with little or no control over environmental and worker safety issues. There is no Fair Trade Certification ensuring workers have appropriate working conditions and wages. Processing of bamboo is typically done in coal fired plants, which emit significant pollution. Manufacturers of bamboo flooring handle potentially toxic chemicals, including urea-formaldehyde binders and finishes, produce much solid waste, and run equipment that emits combustion gases. The fossil fuels required to move bamboo products around the world constitutes an environmental strike against bamboo, leaving a significant carbon footprint.
This was copied from a post in Bamboo Plantations which led me to Google “the bamboo sea” mentioned elsewhere in the article. The bamboo see is centred on Hunan Provence in the south of China. This search came up with this http://tinyurl.com/6xdmn8 which is from B A M B O O · The Magazine of The American Bamboo Society and looks interesting. It has articles on Moso and Guardua. Right now I have only had time to take a quick look at it, but am passing it on before I forget.