Why Choose Bamboo?

Bamboo classroom easel and storage carts

At Copernicus, we are trying to make more conscious decisions as a company, and a big part of our environmental impact is our products. We use steel in the majority of our products because it is extremely durable, safe, and long lasting. All factors which are ideal in a classroom! Plus, it is extremely recyclable if the product is no longer usable. Unfortunately, even though it is recyclable, it does not have a very clean start to life. Steel is made of iron ore (which is taken from the environment in large open pit mines) and this iron ore requires the burning of coal to make it into the steel we know.

Those are two big issues; environmental destruction and burning of coal, which produces greenhouse gases. These gases, in particular carbon, contribute to global warming and the climate crisis.

In this post, we’ll explain why Copernicus is choosing to use bamboo in some of our products.

What Is Bamboo And Why Does It Matter?

Bamboo forest
Bamboos are fast growing perennials, which grow as much as one meter per day (OneTreePlanted.org). Since learning about the strength of bamboos, we designed our first easel about 10 years ago, the Double Sided Bamboo Teaching Easel, that is manufactured at a facility in China. 


When we look at the environmental impact (remember the two biggest issues with steel: environmental destruction and the production of greenhouse gases), bamboo is less damaging to the landscape than open pit mines. It tends to be grown in plantations, creating some habitat as long as it is managed properly. Plus, bamboo sequesters carbon as it grows, meaning it pulls carbon out of the atmosphere and stores it in its stalk, roots, and surrounding soil. So, instead of creating carbon and adding to global warming, bamboo removes carbon.

Instead of creating carbon and adding to global warming,
bamboo removes carbon.

Given what we have learned about the material, and knowing that it would still be safe, durable, and long lasting, but also kinder to the environment, bamboo happens to be an obvious choice to continue to use for more of our products.

Measuring Our Impact

Over 80% of all product-related impacts are determined during the design phase – meaning the majority of the environmental impact is decided in the design stage.

We measured the carbon impact of our traditional steel easel in comparison to our bamboo easel and determined that every time a bamboo easel is purchased over a steel easel, we save approximately (key word – approximately, this is still a developing field of study!) 36 kg of carbon, which is equivalent to saving 147 km or 91 mi of driving!

And that’s just per one product! Let’s say 1,000 bamboo easels are purchased over steel easels, we are then saving 36,000 kg of carbon or 145,605 km or 90,475 mi. That’s like driving from New York City to Los Angeles 32 times!

But wood also sequesters carbon and grows in forests, right? So why did we pick bamboo, a type of grass, and not wood? There are two main reasons. Firstly, bamboo does not die after it is harvested, unlike tree species; it grows back from its stump. Secondly, bamboo is extremely fast growing; it can grow up to a full meter in a single day!

Both these factors make it much more renewable than any wood species. It can be harvested every 4-5 years, and then it regrows. In comparison, teak or oak need over 50 years of growing time before they can be harvested, and then the tree is lost and cannot regrow from its stump.

An Educator's Perspective

Core Inspiration Blog Teacher Laura Santos

“I couldn’t resist the beautiful natural colors of this easel, and I highly recommend it to any teacher who is looking to create a calm classroom environment. I’ve had my Bamboo Teaching Easel for three years, and it’s amazing durability keeps it looking new, year after year.”

-Laura Santos, Third grade teacher, Blogger, California

Instagram @coreinspiration, Blog: Core Inspiration

Ashlea Oaks Keep it Simple Teacher Bamboo Easel

 

“This easel brings me so much joy. My Bamboo Teaching Easel quickly became an integral part of my daily literacy lessons and one of my favorite teaching tools. Not only is it functional with lots of storage, but it’s beautiful TOO!!”

-Ashlea Oaks, Literacy Coach, Washington, DC

Instagram @keepitsimpleteacher

What Comes Next for Bamboo at Copernicus

This is all an evolution. We are far from perfect, but we are trying to move towards more renewable materials like bamboo. This is just one step on a very long but necessary journey. We have recently expanded our line of bamboo products to include more easels and storage carts. We want to be a business that is a force for good taking people, planet, and then profit into consideration when making business decisions.

Each time a bamboo product is purchased, we also donate to World Wildlife Fund’s panda habitat restoration project. Be sure to explore all of our bamboo products, and keep an eye out for more in the future.

View our Bamboo Teaching Resources, Activities and more.

 

B Corp logo
Since 2018, Copernicus has been a part of a community of like-minded companies that want to use business as a force for good. We want to redefine what a successful business is by being directed and shaped through a social and environmental conscience. Learn more about our B Corp journey

 

 

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