By Morwenna Kearns
Green, lush and exotic, bamboo really taps into the tropical trend. But it's an incredibly versatile plant too: in east Asia you'll see it used as scaffolding and fencing, as well as paper, medicine and food (for humans and pandas alike). It grows super-fast in the right conditions and is naturally resistant to pests so there's more scope for organic farming methods.
It scores a lot of eco points, but that's not to say bamboo horticulture is totally sustainable or ethical; as a consumer, do ask questions about supply chains. Let's hear it for bamboo – here are just a few of the incredible ways you can use bamboo around the home.
Bamboo makes a gorgeously soft fabric, ideal for both clothes and bedding. Urban Collective has used bamboo in its very insta-Friendly sheets (blue-grey, green, lilac... #nofilter), launched recently in Harvey Nichols.
Bamboo water bottles and bamboo coffee cups
WAKEcup has used bamboo on the outside of its reusable water bottles, coffee cups and travel mugs, providing a bit of insulation and a lot of style. Bamboo is fairly soft, so you can engrave logos, designs and names on it – a service the brand offered for Father's Day.
Ecoffee Cup also uses bamboo fibre in its reusable coffee cups, less obviously so, but when they get too damaged to use you can literally crush them, soak them in boiling water and bury them with organic matter until they decompose. The William Morris designs have plenty of life in them until that happens, though.
Remember those melamine plates and cups you had as a kid? You may well still have them lying around, since plastic will basically last forever. Less permanent is the bamboo material used in the frankly fantastic dinnerware collections from Rex London (formerly DotComGiftShop). Happy clouds, bunny rabbits and pandas (of course) are the stars of this crockery, which is hardwearing when you need it to be and biodegradable when the children are all grown up. There's also a picnic set featuring glam flamingos! You can also rely on Yours Sustainably to deliver brill bamboo plates and cups: the best ones feature a giraffe hanging out with a fox.
Bamboo toilet paper
Back in 2016 The Cheeky Panda successfully crowdfunded enough cash to launch its 100 per cent tree-free and FSC-certified toilet roll made from bamboo. Since then it's gone from strength to strength, rolling out kitchen paper and tissues too.
Soft enough for clothes yet hard enough for flooring: bamboo is something of a wonder-plant. UK Flooring Direct even described its Bamrock bamboo floor covering collection as 'super hard', and perfect for every room in the house including the bathroom.
When the world suddenly woke up to the horrifying effect of plastic drinking straws (in a nutshell: we use them for ten minutes then they're in the oceans forever) the search was on for reusable or biodegradable alternatives. La Juniper offers a cool bamboo straw, perfect for tropical cocktails. The online retailer also does bamboo face cloths, for cleaning up when you've had one too many.