In 2012-2013, when EcoPlanet Core Carbon first started investing in the development of clean technologies for the manufacturing of the bamboo biomass from the Kowie Bamboo Farm in South Africa's Eastern Cape into a range of carbonized products, the concept of "alternative fibers" was still relatively new. However with an increased focus in the reporting and analysis of companies deforestation footprints over the past five years, we've seen an exponential rise from the same companies in securing a deforestation free fiber. Generally this interest is driven by one of two major avenues - either its to ensure that the product itself is deforestation free, or it's to ensure that the packaging needs associated with the shipping and selling of products around the world, are deforestation free.
Tree free fibers have equally been gaining traction, however the initial focus has been very much on the waste products from cash crops - in particular bagasse from the commercial production of sugar cane, and wheat straw, from the commercial production of wheat. While the focus on these alternative fibers has really started to lead to a revolution and raise significant awareness of the environmental challenges of utilizing trees for many disposable consumer products, they also come with a side challenge. Global sources of fibers such as bagasse and wheat straw are limited, and as annual cash crops, their availability is closely aligned with agricultural markets.
For us at EcoPlanet Core Carbon our interest has been in securing biomass, energy and carbonized products that are not only deforestation free, but also tree free. Bamboo - if grown only on degraded land, of which there are millions of acres available around the world, and grown only as a deforestation free crop, meaning that no trees or forests are cleared for its production - has the potential to overcome all of the above challenges, and provide a true renewable, unlimited supply of a fiber and biomass that is rapidly becoming known as "tree free, deforestation free" - the ultimate target for a brand demanding true sustainability.
But what exactly does this mean? A recent article explains what a tree free, deforestation free fiber is, and why its so important for the world:
What is a Tree Free, Deforestation Free Fiber