This year alone, the human population has dumped nearly 2 billion tons of plastic into the world's oceans. We're practically drowning in plastic pollution. There is a sustainable alternative. The twist? It's made in China.
Bamboo is considered the symbol of fertility in Chinese cultures and friendship in India. For one Portland- and Shanghai-based home goods brand, however, it's the "poster child for renewable material," and a universal symbol of hope for a planet obsessed with plastic.
More than a decade ago, Jeff Delkin and Rachel Speth, founders of Bambu Home, set out to change the way consumers buy and use renewable materials. So they quit their corporate jobs, packed their bags, and headed east—very far east.
In their travels across the rural villages and big cities of China, they closely observed how one of the fastest-growing plants on the earth, bamboo, was used on a daily basis. Surprisingly, though, the uses of this versatile, age-long material were fairly limited and pretty inconspicuous (like scaffolding and clothespins).
This plant's infinite potential was not invisible, however, to Delkin and Speth.
"We borrowed from the Chinese culture," says Speth, "but gave it a Western spin." Bambu's entire line of utensils and other home goods is a seamless blend of an age-long tradition with contemporary design. The two are so interwoven, says Speth, that "native Chinese people ... barely even recognize it when they see it in this more elegant form."
Bambu's roots in China, a country long criticized for its manufacturing processes, is the key to their success. "We couldn't do what we do without being here," shares Delkin. "We source our materials from local woodworks, weavers, and stitchers, where the bamboo grows in the wild, not on a plantation."
The fact that their bamboo and products are "Made in China" guarantees the highest-quality bamboo and most authentic craftsmanship. It also means Bambu can track all their products from source to shelf, making them the first—and only—company to have their bamboo certified organic.
Bambu's line of sleek, contemporary home goods is not only easy on the earth—it’s easy on the eyes, too, which makes its presence in the kitchen even more of a no-brainer. Stock up and get cookin' with our favorite all-bamboo staples to see what we we're talking about:
Photo credit: Paul Delmont