Bamboo is a renewable resource that has been used as a construction material over the centuries. Bamboo differs from timber in that it is classified as a grass and as such it has the ability to grow to maturity in about 6 years. Due to this fast growth rate bamboo has a high yield for the land area planted. Fast growth results in a high release rate of oxygen back to the atmosphere and similarly carbon dioxide is absorbed from the atmosphere. The root system remains unharmed after harvesting and re-growth occurs rapidly. Forest management practices to international standards can also be met which promotes environmental sustainability and social responsibility. Bamboo flooring is a manufactured product and uses adhesives in its manufacture similar to many timber based products.
Due this there are requirements concerning formaldehyde emissions and in Europe it is necessary that bamboo flooring complies with emission class E1. Claims of compliance with this emission class are often evident on the packaging and literature relating to bamboo flooring entering Australia. Bamboo is able to offer many environmental benefits but this still requires sound management practices regarding the land being used for production, in the harvesting and in the factories producing the flooring. From an environmental perspective embodied energy and transportation, as with most products from China, also forms part of the equation which can be a factor overlooked in its carbon footprint.