Saving the Environment: Bamboo congress proposes initiative to replace some plastics [Bamboo News]

Is bamboo the answer to our world's plastics waste problem? That's what the second Global Bamboo and Rattan Congress underway in the Chinese capital Beijing is promoting. It says the plant could be a green development solution for a planet "choking on plastic." Tao Yuan has the story.

Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a letter of congratulations. Heads of State gave virtual speeches. High-level officials and diplomats are attending the meeting.

What is making bamboo such a unifying force?

Well, it's because of this – plastic waste.

TAO YUAN Beijing "According to the UN Environment Programme, the world is now producing nearly 400 million metric tons of plastic each year. Experts believe there could be a nature-based solution for the problem of plastic waste."

And you've guessed it – bamboo.

The big announcement at the conference is an initiative called the "Bamboo as a Substitute for Plastic Initiative."

Bamboo as a Substitute for Plastic

GUAN ZHIOU Administrator National Forestry and Grassland Administration "The Chinese government has paid great attention to the development of the bamboo and rattan industry. 

Especially in the past 10 years, we've made great strides in nurturing and protecting bamboo and rattan resources and developing bamboo and rattan industries and cultures. We've gained valuable experience in the process and have been searching for nature-based solutions to tackle global environment problems."

TAO YUAN Beijing "Bamboo straws and utensils is just a beginning."

Experts believe that in time, we can count on bamboo replacing plastic, cement, PVC, steel, and in manufacturing sports equipment, housing material, even wind turbine blades.

ALI MCHUMO Director General The International Bamboo and Rattan Organization

"Bamboo has the quality of being very hard. It's bendable. So, you can shape bamboo into whatever shape you wish."

"Bamboo as a Substitute for Plastic Initiative."
File photo 

Bamboo is also one of the world's fastest-growing plants, so it can be harvested more frequently.

ALI MCHUMO Director General The International Bamboo and Rattan Organization

 "You can have bamboo fully mature within three years unlike many trees, which take ten to fifteen years to grow into maturity."

Big plans are in the pipeline, but experts believe they need to first publicize the special qualities of bamboo.

Taxonomically, the plant is a grass, not a tree. So, it's often overlooked in forestry discussions.

It also costs more to produce bamboo products. But experts say it's worth the extra investment for the sake of a greener future. 

Tao Yuan, CGTN, Beijing.