When I think of bamboo, I think of the countryside and sturdy outdoor furniture. (I wonder why that is…)
But then I found enterprising people who swear by the unique qualities of bamboo. So now, when I think of bamboo, I also think of something that’s easy to grow, biodegradable, flexible, and probably most important of all, sustainable and eco-friendly.
I’m not alone.
“I like the versatility, strength, and durability of the material,” agrees Melissa Lam, the founder of Bamboo Straw Girl.
“Bamboo is so strong that it has traditionally been used for building for years! It grows on land that is not suitable to grow crops in or other agriculture. It’s simple, affordable and beautiful.”
It’s not just one thing
Bamboo is indeed all of the above, and more. Just look at what Bamboo Straw Girl has achieved so far with bamboo.
Based in Singapore, Bamboo Straw Girl is a social enterprise and shop that sells bamboo and repurposed lifestyle products. Mel (aka Bamboo Straw Girl) started with bamboo straws in 2013, but they now create and offer different items such as bags, kitchen and bath essentials.
What’s more, their materials and production processes are sustainable, low-impact and plastic-free, with an emphasis on waste reduction. And they work with Indonesian artisans and communities from around the region.
As someone who’s been working with bamboo for years, Mel is constantly amazed by what she’s discovered (and still discovering) about it.
“I learn new things all the time. Working with a natural material is an ongoing, learning journey. Even our simplest product – the bamboo straw – took lots of trial and error before we perfected it!
“What has stayed true for me is the importance of respecting the material and not forcing it. From harvesting to drying, we have to surrender to weather and land conditions.”
If you want to go big yet start small, we suggest you try their bamboo straw. 😊
Bamboo Straw Girl’s bamboo straws are made by hand – whole – from homegrown and/or wild bamboo. They are also reusable (did you know that they can potentially last a few years with proper care?), biodegradable, all-natural (no recompression or extras added in), smooth and clean.
No wonder Mel is proud of it. ❤️
But it doesn’t just end with straw. Mel lists her five favourite useful bamboo products here – and why they could very well end up being yours too.
#1 Bamboo straw
We just had to include it again. 😊 “Of course! This was our very first product and a sweet beginning. My intention with this product has always been to start conversations about big topics (environmental ones) in a lighthearted way.”
#2 Bamboo cups
“(The makeshift ones.) I have bamboo offcuts on my desk that I use as pencil holders (you’ll also see them at my pop-up booths). Each of these cups or holders come from different bamboo groves, and I love the memories associated with them.”
#3 Bamboo chopsticks
“I find chopsticks such a versatile cutlery item! For Lunar New Year, I gave my parents a set with our family name engraved on them. They get daily use in their home!”
#4 Bamboo toothbrush
“I like that this product is an essential one. When we sell bamboo toothbrushes, it’s like a little signal to us that somebody out there is considering their lifestyle choices beyond straws or plastic bags! That’s what I like.” 😊
#5 Bamboo spoons and spatulas
“Since bamboo is by nature a flat material, it’s interesting that the spoons and spatulas don’t have a deep scoop. It’s a mark of the material.”
So will we see bamboo in your (more eco-friendly) home soon? 😉
Where else can you find Mel and Bamboo Straw Girl? Mel also does school talks and corporate outreach sessions “as it’s interesting to hear opinions on environmental topics”, and attends market booths and trade shows “as I can get a feel of people’s firsthand responses to our products”, she says. You might catch her there.
Searching for other eco-friendly bamboo products? Click here.