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Bamboo is such a great natural resource that it may soon replace many wood and plastic products. It can grow in poor soil and with little water. Unlike trees and other plants, bamboo actually improves the ground that it lives in, adding nutrients back into the soil instead of leeching them out. It grows quickly, up to two feet a day, and creates an intricate network of roots that is excellent for erosion control.

Bamboo has a higher tensile strength than steel. It is very strong and perfectly suited for many things.

-People use it to build fences, houses, boats, furniture, and other structures that must hold up against the elements and subjection to heavy weights.

-Bamboo is used as a source of food in some cultures. The shoots are commonly used in soups and stir fries. The seeds are eaten as a source of whole grain. Bamboo is a good source of dietary fiber, protein, B vitamins, potassium, and other nutrients that should be consumed for optimal health.

-Bamboo cookware is very popular right now, but has actually been around for centuries. Bamboo is used to make toothpicks and chopsticks, rice steamers, utensils, plates, bowls, mats, trays, rice steamers, cutting boards, and more. It is preferred over wood for use in the kitchen because it absorbs very little moisture. This protects it from swelling, splitting or warping.

-Bamboo is commonly used around the home. You can get bamboo shoe racks, plate racks, dish drainers, picture frames, bins, baskets, buckets, rugs, end tables, and desks. Some people even use bamboo to make recreational products like baseball bats, lacrosse sticks, volleyball nets, and more.

-Bamboo even possesses medicinal qualities. It is used in speed healing and treating infection. It can be consumed and used as an anti-inflammatory, which helps to treat pain, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, respiratory diseases, and more. It is considered to be a good source of potassium, protein and fiber for diabetics who cannot have foods with high glucose content.

-Bamboo is very versatile as a raw product. It can be used to make fabric that rivals cotton in softness and wear. It can be used to make paper, scaffolding, paneling, structural reinforcers, even bridges. The fibers can be mixed with epoxy resin to produce incredibly strong, yet lightweight, building materials.

-Bamboo is used in our everyday lives. If you want to increase your use of bamboo in an effort to support budding communities that rely on bamboo as a source of income, or if you simply want to help the environment, there are a few ways in which you can start. Try to choose bamboo over plastic and wood products whenever possible. Think about your clothing and try bamboo clothes hangers. Bamboo is strong enough to hang heavy items, but more lightweight than traditional wooden hangers. Stock your kitchen with bamboo products. Opt for bamboo flooring over hardwood or laminate.

It is getting easier and easier to incorporate bamboo into our everyday lives. Make an effort and you can help to save our planet.

About the Author: Ron Maier is on the staff of Only Hangers.