Bamboo Paper Products Are a Trendy, Eco-Friendly Solution — Here’s What You Should Know

updated May 5, 2021
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
Credit: Joe Lingeman

Bamboo sheets. Bamboo toothbrushes. Bamboo towels. Bamboo floors. You may have noticed the latest trend in the sustainability industry is swapping out traditional material for bamboo. Most recently, bamboo has made its way into bathrooms and kitchens to take the place of standard paper products. Bamboo paper products look the same as traditional paper products, and they work as just as well as traditional paper products, but are they actually better for the environment? 

Well, for starters, bamboo, despite its appearance, is technically a grass, and an extremely fast-growing one. 

“Bamboos are known for being the fastest growing plant on the planet, growing in some cases as much as 35 inches per day,” says Casper Ohm, marine biologist & founder of “Its fast growth rate means there would be no need for using harmful growth chemicals nor need to constantly destroy entire ecosystems.”

Regular paper products on the other hand are made with hardwood fiber. Hardwood trees take years to grow and are chopped down at increasing rates for single-use products like toilet paper and paper towels. 

Another plus of bamboo, according to Derin Oyekan, co-founder of bamboo paper product line Reel, is that bamboo also doesn’t need to be replanted; after a bamboo stalk is cut to be harvested, it can continue to grow. “Bamboo also uses 30 percent less water than hardwood trees, giving out 35 percent more oxygen,” says Oyekan. “Bamboo fibers are naturally designed to be stronger as it has a higher tensile strength than many alloys of steel.”

And while bamboo products are robust, the resulting bamboo product is also biodegradable. “So when you use a thin bamboo toilet paper, it breaks down much better and decomposes more naturally than other paper types,” explained Ryan Smith, an organic scientist, entomologist, and the founder and owner of Art and Garden Organic, an organic pest control business.

Making the switch to bamboo paper products can help prevent hardwood deforestation (approximately 27,000 trees are cut down every day to make toilet paper, and that t.p. can’t even be recycled) and they are less likely to clog your pipes. So what’s the catch? 

Like any farmed product, bamboo can be land- and labor-intensive to grow. And then it has to be shipped to the U.S., deepening its footprint and strain on the environment. When shopping for bamboo products, keep an eye on the brands’ commitment to the production and distribution impact. Reel, for example, uses bamboo that is sourced responsibly and ethically, and packaging that is plastic-free and 100 percent compostable or recyclable.

“It’s not all sunshine and rainbows. We still have to find the sweet spot between commercially producing enough bamboo to meet the growing demands without occupying forests,” says Silvia Borges, co-founder of “But when you take everything into account, the benefits still outweigh the costs significantly.”