Where Does It Come From? The Origins of Bamboo

Where Does It Come From? The Origins of Bamboo

An evergreen, perennial, flowering grass, bamboo is known to be hundreds of centuries old and one of the most important plants in the world. Used throughout human history for a variety of products, bamboo has been a prime source of both food and life sustaining items. “The species of bamboo that we know today evolved from prehistoric grasses between thirty and forty million years ago, long after the extinction of the dinosaurs. It then became the major food source for herbivorous animals, eventually becoming a food source for the modern human being as well.” Bamboo Grove The word “bamboo” is believed to come from the Malay word “Mambu” or “Bambu,” depending on who you ask (Malay is the national language of Malaysia and Indonesia). In the late 16th century the Dutch named it “Bamboes” after which it got its Neo-Latin name “Bambusa“. (source)  Bamboo is so connected to life that several Asian cultures even have stories and ancient beliefs of humanity emerging from bamboo. Map of the “bamboo belt”; the growing around the world where bamboo thrives (source) Found growing natively on five continents, bamboo’s earliest known uses were for chopsticks and other eating utensils while also being an integral part of the human diet. According to China Today, the oldest archaeological finds of bamboo articles in China were unearthed from the remains of a primitive society that existed some 7,000 years ago in what is now Hemudu, Yuyao County, Zhejiang Province. In the Neolithic time, ancient Chinese people were using it for arrow making, construction, weaving, books, and paper.  “Archeologists working in the ruins of the Neolithic village...
New Report from The Sustainability Consortium Shows the Importance of Supply Chain Transparency

New Report from The Sustainability Consortium Shows the Importance of Supply Chain Transparency

The Sustainability Consortium (TSC) released its 2019 Impact Report earlier this month, “Reaching Sustainability Through Transparency.” The report showcases year-over-year trends in sustainability reporting, and is part of TSC’s mission to translate the “best sustainability science into business tools…to create more sustainable consumer products…to drive environmental and social sustainability impact.” (source) The key area of sustainability focused on in this report is product supply chain transparency. “Transparency can demystify complex supply chains, and help different actors identify and minimize risks and improve conditions on the ground and inform whether and where progress is being made.” Toby Gardner and others, World Development Journal TSC’s latest report shows that product manufacturers which track their supply chain sources and processes have better insights into their own global operations and, through those insights, have more opportunity for making sustainable and environmentally responsible choices for their product and how it is made. The 2019 report shows a 30% increase in transparency from the previous year.  “Companies are increasingly taking action by setting science-based targets and committing to make products more sustainable.” Elizabeth Sturcken, Managing Director, EDF+Business, EDF At Greenington, we strive to have full insight into every aspect of our furniture from soil to store. Carefully analyzing the sustainability of the many pieces and processes that go into our furniture is not just a point of pride, it’s a passion. One that we stand by every day. Read the full report from TSC and learn more about how transparency in supply chains is making the sustainability...
Why Join the Sustainable Furnishings Council

Why Join the Sustainable Furnishings Council

At Greenington, our commitment to creating high quality, sustainable furniture isn’t just about the bottom dollar – it’s a commitment to a global movement to live more responsibly in every way. There are thousands of companies committed to this same ideal and one organization that is leading the way in the furniture industry, to raise standards and hold manufacturers accountable, is the Sustainable Furnishings Council (SFC). About the SFC Founded in October 2006, the SFC is a coalition of manufacturers, retailers and designers dedicated to raising awareness and expanding the adoption of environmentally sustainable practices across the home furnishings industry. “There is overwhelming scientific consensus that our world is experiencing dangerous global climate change, and equally overwhelming evidence that environmental pollutants are harming our health. It is urgent that we take immediate steps to minimize carbon emissions, reduce other pollutants, and remove unsustainable materials and harmful chemical inputs from all furnishings product platforms. SFC supports members of the industry in taking those steps.” Sustainable Furnishings Council The SFC’s mission is to help companies reduce their environmental footprints as they grow, and to help consumers find healthy furnishings.  To do so, they provide the education, promotion, and networking opportunities to raise consumer interest in environmentally safe furnishings. Why Join Being a member of SFC means that your company is part of supporting “the triple bottom line of PEOPLE – PLANET – PROFITS.” SFC Members lead the industry in best practices throughout their supply chains and are committed to continuous work toward a healthy future, inside and out. To become a member, companies complete a Best Practices Agreement that verifies how the...
Zero Waste Manufacturing: How Greenington Does It

Zero Waste Manufacturing: How Greenington Does It

As a company committed to caring for the planet, we pay attention to how all aspects of our process relate to the environment. Having sustainable and renewable source materials is one important part of that. Using every part of those materials is another.Our hand finished furniture is made of Moso bamboo, one of the planet’s superstar plants. Moso bamboo grows to full maturity in under 5 years, is able to be harvested without harming the mother root, and absorbs more carbon dioxide and puts out more oxygen than almost any other plant. In addition to using one of the most renewable resources there is, we are proud to say that we use every part of every bamboo stalk that enters our factory – creating a zero waste manufacturing process.Here’s how we do it: When the harvested bamboo arrives in our factory, our furniture makers begin the process of cutting the culms into the sizes we need. The Greenington factory uses the bottom of the culm for our furniture. We send the rest of the culm parts to other bamboo factories to make mat, basket or other bamboo products. Our furniture makers cut the selected bamboo culm into strips for our classic finish items or shred the fibers for our exotic finish items. During this process, there is some bamboo by-product that doesn’t make it into the pressed pieces and panels that we use to make our furniture. There are also pieces that are then trimmed in the crafting process that are remainders, as well. As part of our unique factory partnerships, Greenington delivers all of this by-product to other...
Protecting Pandas: Facts About Their Habitat and Moso Bamboo

Protecting Pandas: Facts About Their Habitat and Moso Bamboo

We often get asked about whether our bamboo furniture is part of the decline in panda habitat, declining food sources, and their endangerment. Proudly, we can say, “No, it is not.” Here’s why: Fact 1: Not All Types of Bamboo are Eaten by Pandas When most of us think of pandas, the image of one happily eating bamboo comes to mind. Bamboo is the main food source for Giant Pandas. Bamboo is “99 percent of their food—one reason they are relatively low-energy animals. To derive enough nutrients, pandas eat 20 to 40 pounds of plant material a day.” [source: National Geographic] There are many different types of bamboo, however, and not all of it is eaten by pandas. “Pandas like eating arrow bamboo, black bamboo, and ‘water bamboo’, along with about 20 other species.”  Greenington’s products are made of Moso bamboo (Phyllostachys pubescens), which is not one of the types of bamboo that pandas eat and live in.   Fact 2: Location Matters While they used to live “throughout southern and eastern China, as well as neighboring Myanmar and northern Vietnam… most of the remaining wild pandas now live in the Minshan and Qinling mountains” in South Central China. Moso bamboo – the only kind we use in our products – grows in the lower elevations, far from panda mountain habitat. Pandas neither eat it nor use it for making their homes.   Fact 3: Certified Safe While we are grateful to know pandas were deemed no longer endangered in 2016, they are far from in the clear as a species; industrialization and hunting/poaching continue to threaten their survival. As...
5 Simple and Effective Ways to Reduce the Ecological Footprint of Your Home

5 Simple and Effective Ways to Reduce the Ecological Footprint of Your Home

With the increasing awareness of personal impact on the environment, more and more people are paying attention to their “footprint” – the effect their lifestyle and choices have on the planet. There are many aspects to everyone’s overall footprint (food, transportation, etc.) and one of the most important ones is how we keep our homes. While no one person can overcome the ecological challenges our world is facing, everyone can make choices that will reduce their footprint and contribute to the larger movement of responsible and sustainable living. Here are 5 ways everyone can reduce the ecological footprint of their home: 1. Reduce your overall energy usage. From the insulation in your home to the electricity used to power it, energy usage is the number one way everyone can reduce their overall impact. Steps you can take: Ensure your home is well insulated and you’ve closed any gaps where “energy leaks” can compromise the heating/cooling of your home. Set your thermostat a couple degrees lower in winter and higher in summer to use less heating or AC over the year. (monitor and manage your usage with smart thermostats like Nest) Use energy efficient appliances and lamps, unplug devices not in use, or use smart home devices to manage electronics (such as Google Home). 2. Limit toxic products you use. Many home items (cleaning products, paint, etc.) are made with toxic chemicals that contribute to ill environmental effects during production and in usage. Steps you can take: Read the labels on the products you are buying and do a quick Internet search on their level of toxicity before you buy. Ask...

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