The environmental impact of industrial bamboo products: Life-cycle assessment and carbon sequestration

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This report presents the results of a Life-Cycle Assessment (LCA) and carbon footprint analysis of a selection of industrial bamboo products that are manufactured by the company MOSO International. The analysis was done to determine the impact that their production and disposal have on the environment. Bamboo !ooring, decking, panels and beams have been evaluated.
A comprehensive explanation is o"ered of how carbon sequestration can be calculated, following LCA methodology. This LCA is speci#c to the product evaluations described in this report and is not applicable to other manufacturers’ products. The assessment described here is done for the production (cradle-to-gate) plus the waste (end-of-life) stages of the bamboo products, but does not include the user stage, when the product is in use by consumers after purchase.
Bamboo products are increasingly found in western markets, with recorded international trade of some $2 bn in 2012, the majority of which is imported to European and North American consumer countries. As bamboo products are increasingly perceived as “green” and environmentally friendly, it is important to have an e"ective way to evaluate and verify these claims – to reassure producers and consumers, and help producers #nd ways to make their production system even “greener”. The LCA is a widely used and recognized method for achieving this.
This study shows that if production parameters are optimised, these industrial bamboo products can have a negative carbon footprint over their full life-cycle, from cradle to grave. This means that the credits gained through carbon sequestration, and from burning to produce electricity in a power plant at the end of each product’s life, outweigh the emissions caused by the production and transport processes.
At end-of-life, it is assumed that 90% of the bamboo products are incinerated in an electrical power plant and 10% will end-up in land#ll, a realistic scenario for Western Europe. The LCA was done following International standards ISO 14040 and 14044. In addition, the capture and storage (sequestration) of CO2 has been taken into account.
It is hoped that the analysis described here will inform and encourage other bamboo producers to do similar life-cycle analyses of their production systems, to better understand where they can focus investments to reduce the environmental impacts of their products. It also aims to inform policy-makers about the sustainability of bamboo products, to encourage them to specify the use of this resource in national and international policies and investment plans.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationBeijing, China
PublisherThe International Network for Bamboo and Rattan
Number of pages57
Edition2nd edition
ISBN (Electronic)978-92-95098-90-9
ISBN (Print)978-92-95098-89-3
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Publication series

NameINBAR Technical Report


  • bamboo
  • life cycle assessment
  • product
  • carbon sequestration
  • climate change


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