As we all aspire to live more sustainably, our buying teams continue to seek out stylish eco-friendly options. Here are 5 benefits of bamboo and rattan, as well as their sustainable sisters: seagrass, hemp and jute.
Rattan, seagrass, hemp, jute and bamboo are extremely fast-growing and require far less water. As they can renew more rapidly, they produce a greater yield, which reduces deforestation. Many of these crops also self-regenerate — when plants are harvested, new shoots sprout from the forest floor, which creates less soil erosion.
These plants require zero chemicals or pesticides to grow — just good old carbon dioxide. In fact, bamboo sucks up more greenhouse gases to produce 35% more oxygen than a tree of the equivalent size. Very strong and, at the end of their lifecycle, also fully biodegradable, these natural materials are hard to fault.
Organic fibres are incredibly adaptable. Natural grasses and vines are ideal for weaving, while bamboo and rattan are perfect for furniture design, yet also very strong. In fact, rattan is one of the strongest woods in the world — it must be steamed to bend into shape, where it then sets firmly.
As part of a thriving industry with abundant supply in tropical locations, products made from these sustainable materials are more affordable than those made from resources that take much longer to grow and produce. Additionally, being lightweight, items are significantly easier to transport, which also cuts costs.
Much of the rattan, seagrass, hemp, jute and bamboo used at Early Settler comes from Asia and is harvested, washed, cured, dried and handmade to the highest quality by local artisans, which means we get to support the traditional crafts of global communities.
As one of the fastest-growing plants in the world, bamboo is an excellent timber alternative. It requires zero chemicals or pesticides to grow, absorbs greenhouse gases, self-regenerates from new shoots and the cane produced is very strong, durable and biodegradable.
The fibre for hemp fabric is derived from the stalks of the Cannabis sativa plant. Hemp fabric is a sustainable textile as it comes from very high-yielding crops that are naturally pest-resistant and pesticide-free. Hemp was traditionally used for rope and sails as it’s incredibly durable at eight times the strength of other natural fibres.
Harvested in tropical locations, the jute plant is fast-growing and requires very little water so it’s also eco-friendly. Producing very strong fibres, it’s perfect for making rope for rug weaving and, at the end of its lifecycle, it’s also biodegradable.
Rattan is one of the strongest woods in the world and comes from fast-growing palm trees grown in tropical locations. Able to regenerate in 5 years, it’s a very sustainable choice. Rattan can be steamed and bent into different shapes, which makes it ideal for furniture design.
This marine grass is clean, green and environmentally friendly. Able to absorb enormous amounts of greenhouse gas, it’s continued growth and harvesting is important for the health of the planet. Once dried, this versatile grass can be woven into strong and stylish furniture and homewares.
People often confuse rattan and wicker. After all, they look the same, so what’s the difference? Put simply, wicker isn’t a material, it’s the process of weaving. Wicker furniture and homewares are usually made from cane, seagrass, rattan or bamboo.