By Léo Azambuja

Bamboo Works owner Julian Ruppert

Bamboo Works owner Julian Ruppert

Bamboo is one of the most versatile plants in the world, providing raw material for almost everything you can imagine; building supplies, transportation, clothing, furniture, accessories, kitchen utensils, surfboards and many more uses. And you can eat it too.

Bamboo Works, in the heart of Old Kapa‘a Town, has been serving Kaua‘i for more than 14 years, offering a wide array of bamboo products.

“Our specialty is bamboo, and then we also carry a mix of other products made from natural, recycled products,” said Bamboo Works owner Julian Ruppert, adding bamboo is one of the most eco-friendly materials available.

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Bamboo surfboards

Unlike wood, which is harvested from trees that may take 40 years or more to grow, and then have to be replanted, bamboo has a high renewability. Bamboo takes three to five years to reach maturity, and then it’s harvested every year without the need to be replanted because new shoots come out annually.

Bamboo is also more efficient than trees of the same size as sequesters of carbon dioxide, a major greenhouse gas culprit of global warming.

And bamboo’s strength is not bad either.

“It’s super strong, its strength-to-weigh ratio is harder than steel,” Julian said.

With more than 1,500 species of bamboo available, different plants have different uses. Some are used for weaving, others for clothing, construction, food, and the list goes on.

“I have 30 species of bamboo growing on my property right now that I’m kinda doing a test of different species to see what grows good in Hawai‘i,” said Julian, adding the majority of them are for construction, but half of them can be eaten as young shoots.