Even though softwood and hardwood forests are generally not highly sustainable, there are other products where renewable resources are used effectively to create new materials for construction and furniture. Bamboo is a popular choice for kitchen cabinetry due to a wide variety of positive attributes:
- Bamboo is actually a grass, native to every continent except Europe, making local buying options easy.
- Bamboo is durable and has a familiar appearance for consumers, looking like most other natural woods on the market.
- Bamboo grows incredibly rapidly, an entire swath renewing itself in 3 to 5 years, compared to 10 to 20, as seen with soft and hardwood forests.
- Bamboo comes in many styles, colors and prices, so there is a large selection for kitchen cabinets.
- Bamboo boasts a high carbon dioxide exchange rate, meaning that about 35 percent more oxygen is produced by bamboo than other sources, helping to prevent greenhouse gases.[source: Bamboo].
There are a few drawbacks. Depending on where the bamboo cabinets are purchased from, it might be difficult to determine the source or exact renewal capabilities. Also, bamboo is more susceptible to moisture than agrifiber options.
Bamboo has become in demand over the past decade, so it should be easy to find through your local retailers or professional cabinet maker. It's a pretty, modern-looking material that's also green and easy to recycle in the long run.