| ||AMERICAN HARDWOODS||BAMBOO
||Maturity is reached in 40–50 years. According to the USDA Forest Service, there were 119% more hardwood trees in 2007 than in 1953, and the growth-to-removals ratio is 2.00 (Forest Resources of the United States, 2007).
||Maturity is reached in 5–7 years. There are over 1,600 known species, but only several are suitable for flooring and panels. Non-suitable species and immature plants yield products that lack appropriate hardness.
||Manufacturing energy is limited to running a saw blade.
||Because bamboo is not a hardwood but a grass, its strips must be compressed with chemical-based glue, under extreme pressure, to be bound together. Glue content can range from 3–20%.
||No emissions for methane, nitrogen oxides, and other particulate matter, and minimal emissions for carbon dioxide (Bergman and Bowe, 2008).
||Lower grade bamboo products often use formaldehyde resins in the gluing process, which can lead to formaldehyde off-gassing.
||Virtually every part of a log is used as lumber or by-products (including bark, sawdust, and scrap); finished products can be repurposed or used as a combustible fuel.
||High quality manufacturing techniques use only 65% of the raw material; traditional manufacturing utilizes only 35%. The remaining material is wasted, usually burned.
||Standards, established by U.S. associations, regulate the quality of American hardwood products.
||In China, where the majority of bamboo products originate, there are no organizations governing quality.
||Hardwood trees store carbon as they grow and, when harvested from a responsibly managed forest, are actually a carbon-negative material.
||Bamboo grass stores carbon during the growth cycle, but—due to extensive energy required to process and manufacture its products—bamboo is not a carbon-neutral material.
||American hardwoods can be regionally sourced and regionally shipped.
||Most bamboo is grown and manufactured in Southeast Asia. Shipping products half way around the world adds significant hydrocarbons to the atmosphere.
||American hardwoods come in a variety of species and lumber grades, providing color, pattern, and character marks to satisfy nearly every design scheme.
||Bamboo products, flooring, and panels come in vertical- and flat-grain patterns and generally are a light, honey or natural color.
||A solid hardwood floor can last 125 years or longer with several refinishings.
||According to manufacturers, bamboo flooring should last 30–50 years.
|After Useful Life
||Finished hardwood products can be repurposed or used as a combustible fuel. Even in a landfill, hardwoods will naturally revert back to nature.
||Because of the high glue content, bamboo products will remain intact in a landfill almost indefinitely.