Bambu’s cutlery set includes a knife, fork, and spoon, each made from organic bamboo. Bamboo is an eco-friendly alternative to plastic because it is reusable and biodegradable. I myself have purchased this set and love it because it is lightweight and easy to bring on-the-go. I consider this set to be inexpensive ($10) compared to typical stainless steel utensils and plastic utensils you would have to continuously replace. The company’s business model is centered around values such as fair wages and working conditions, sustainable agricultural practices, consumer safety, product quality, and actually upholds those values.
The utensils in this set are made from bamboo, which is for the most part, sustainable. Unlike trees, harvesting bamboo is sustainable because it grows rapidly, with most species maturing in 3-5 years (as opposed to 30 years for most tree species) making it essentially renewable. Bamboo has a low water footprint, low carbon footprint, and causes minimal damage to the environment in which it is grown. This is because it can be grown without chemicals (fertilizers, pesticides, etc.) and without irrigation. Finally, bamboo is biodegradable so it can be composted rather than thrown in the trash. Unfortunately, the company is unclear as to what packaging they use, but a safe guess is plastic or paper, neither of which are sustainable.
Because bamboo is a grass, it requires less maintenance than trees. When it is cut, it continues to grow from its roots meaning it does not need to be replanted, and therefore can be considered a renewable resource. The bamboo is harvested from wild groves rather than plantations, which tend to destroy the natural environment. Once the bamboo is cut, it is transported to the nearby site where it is shaped and burnished by hand. The utensils are finished with “certified organic food-safe oil comprised of vegetable oils and waxes”. The production site in China is sustainable: water is filtered and reused and bamboo waste is us used to fuel the small machines“. The company does not use glues, lacquers, heavy metals, or dyes to ensure the safety of the consumer. Unfortunately, shipping the finished products from China to the U.S. is a carbon-intensive process.
Bambu is a home goods company that makes every effort to be sustainable and transparent. The founders, Jeff Delkin and Rachel Speth, have lived and worked in China alongside the 30 local craftsmen and women who handcraft their products. This way they can oversee all stages of the process. Bambu states on its website that it pays workers a fair living wage, follows fair labor practices, and does not employ migrant workers. I would like to know more about what the company classifies as “fair” since the term is subjective. Bambu is a member of 1% so it has committed to “donate at least 1% of our overall sales to nonprofit member organizations who protect and restore the natural environment”. For the Planet Most of its products are USDA Certified Organic and USDA Certified Biobased. If a product is biobased, it is “composed, in whole, or in significant part, of renewable biological products,” as opposed to nonrenewable petroleum-derived products. Products that organic are harder to classify. According to the USDA website, organic products have been produced “using agricultural production practices that foster resource cycling, promote ecological balance, maintain and improve soil and water quality, minimize the use of synthetic materials, and conserve biodiversity”. Certification ensures that no fertilizers, pesticides, or other synthetic chemicals were used.