How much CO2 is stored in bamboo?
Calculating the CO2 locked in bamboo can be done following the norms...
Bamboo is one of the fastest growing, renewable resources in the world. It absorbs CO2 in large quantities. With its properties comparable to hardwood, Moso bamboo is the ideal alternative to increasingly scarce tropical hardwoods. Below we will explain why MOSO® is the most sustainable choice in every phase of its life cycle.
The giant bamboo species Moso belongs to the fastest growing plants in the world. It reaches its final length of up to 20 meters within a couple of months (with a speed of up to 1 meter a day during the growing season!). It takes the stem around 4-5 years to mature and acquire its excellent hardwood like characteristics (hardness, strength, dimensional stability). This stands in clear contrast with tropical hardwoods. These take over 50 years to mature, are increasingly scarce and often more expensive.
One bamboo plant consists of several poles and new shoots will grow from the mother plant every year. Generally 20-25% of the poles in a sustainable bamboo forest or plantation can be harvested each year. This happens without decreasing the number of poles per hectare! The plant does not die after harvesting (as with trees), so no deforestation. On the contrary, by harvesting the mature plants, the yield and quality of the plantation actually increases.
Through photosynthesis, plants absorb carbon dioxide (CO2) and convert it into glucose (building block for biomass) and oxygen. The CO2 is stored in the material for the lifetime of the product, and even longer if the product is upcycled / recycled into new, durable products. Due to the fast growth – and related high yields – Moso bamboo locks far more CO2 in the durable products pool compared to wood species. The locked amount of CO2 can be calculated rather simply by looking at the density of the material and taking into account the bio-based content. For example, Bamboo X-treme® locks almost 1,700 kg CO2 per m3 of bamboo.
Apart from sustainable sourcing, MOSO® also wants to do what is right in the production phase. Not only for the product quality but also for the environment and the people involved. Therefore we comply with the most stringent norms and procedures regarding quality (ISO 9001) and health and safety (FSC®, ISO 14001).
A healthy indoor climate is important. In Europe and the USA there are very strict rules and norms regarding indoor emissions of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). In Europe the emission of formaldehyde is regulated in the EN717-1 norm. The maximum tolerated level is called E1 and all MOSO® products comply with this. Several MOSO® products even comply with the strictest level: E0 – no formaldehyde emission detectable! Furthermore, all MOSO® Bamboo floors have been rated A and A+ in France with respect to emissions of VOCs: the best classification possible!
Durability is an important yet often overlooked aspect of sustainability. The longer the lifetime of product the lower the environmental impact will be, simply because it will take longer before you need to replace it. Durability depends highly on the quality and characteristics (such as hardness, density, stability, etc) of the product. MOSO® products score very high on all these factors making the product very durable and therefore sustainable!
Of course we hope you can enjoy the MOSO® product for many years, but there will be a moment when it has ended its life cycle. At that moment another characteristic of bamboo will become important: it is easily recycled, for example as resource to make chipboard. Alternatively, it can be burnt in a biomass energy plant to create green electricity. In this way the use of fossil fuels is reduced.
MOSO® is the only bamboo producer worldwide to have thoroughly assessed the exact environmental footprint of its products following leading international standards for environmental reporting. Official LCA studies (ISO 14040/44) executed by Delft University of Technology have confirmed that all solid MOSO® Bamboo products are CO2 neutral or better over the full life cycle, from “cradle to grave”. The latest LCA results were also presented by MOSO® together with INBAR at the COP 21 Climate Conference in Paris in December 2015.
Furthermore, in 2016 MOSO® released their first Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) following EN 15804 for its product range. These EPDs were updated in 2022. As a result of its transparency in environmental reporting and the low environmental impact, MOSO® Bamboo products also contribute to a higher score in the leading sustainable building certification systems LEED and BREEAM, for more information see certifications.
One of the key benefits of bamboo is the rapid renewability, with stems growing to maturity within 5 years. To put this into practice and understand this benefit even more, MOSO® gives a 25 years warranty on Bamboo X-treme® for outdoor applications. During the warranty period, the bamboo has already grown back 5 times. It is clear that MOSO®’s industrial bamboo products, made from upto 98%* of sustainably sourced bamboo material from the fastest growing plant on earth, is therefore a natural fit with the biocycle of the Cradle to Cradle (C2C) concept. MOSO® is actively working in collaboration with leading glue manufacturers to develop a bio-based adhesive to bind the bamboo strips.
*depending on the product.
Discover more about MOSO® Bamboo Products and why bamboo is the building material of the future in our extensive bamboo blogs!
Would you like to receive more information about the sustainability of MOSO® Bamboo Products?
Please feel free to contact us!
Dr. ir. Pablo van der Lugt
Sustainability Manager MOSO International B.V., the Netherlands