Is Bamboo Compostable or Biodegradable?

  • By: greenorb
  • Date: October 24, 2021
  • Time to read: 4 min.

Bamboo is a natural material that is 100% biodegradable as well as compostable, making it a great choice for an eco-friendly material.

When it comes to making products nowadays more and more companies are being conscious of their impact on the environment. 

The wide use of plastic for disposable items has become a major problem and now many manufacturers are turning to alternatives to help reduce their environmental impact, save the seas and reduce the need for landfills.

One such material that many companies are using to make things such as scrub brushes and toothbrushes is bamboo. 

But, is bamboo really a better option? Well, here we will explore whether or not bamboo is compostable if it is biodegradable and whether or not it is really the better option as a material.

Is bamboo biodegradable?

Because bamboo is a naturally occurring material, it is taken from the bamboo plant, it is 100% biodegradable. 

This means that the material is able to be broken down by bacteria and creatures without the need to place it in a landfill and it will not cause pollution. 

The bamboo will just be put back into the earth.

Unlike unnatural materials, such as plastic, bamboo has a very low environmental impact but it is very strong. 

This is why many companies are now turning to bamboo as an alternative to plastic in many different industries. 

Plastic bags are being slowly replaced by bags made from bamboo which is great news for the planet.

Plastic is often littered and end up in fields and oceans, polluting the plant. But, because bamboo is biodegradable it means that its fibers are able to be broken down naturally. 

So, if a bamboo bag does find itself as litter it will be able to be broken down into the earth, unlike plastic which will remain for hundreds of years.

Is bamboo compostable?

Again, because bamboo is a natural material it is also able composted. 

When a material is compostable it means that it can be broken down naturally without producing any toxic substances, including carbon dioxide.

However, if you do not do the process correctly then the bamboo can take a very long time to break down naturally. 

So, you will need to give it a helping hand by shredding it. 

This will allow the natural breakdown of the fibers to take place within a short time frame.

The difference between biodegradable and compostable

When a material is deemed as biodegradable there is no strict time limit that it must adhere to for it to completely breakdown and be subsumed back into the earth, however, when labelling something as compostable it must be able to be broken down at a rate equal or similar to natural materials.

One of the reasons why bamboo will take such a long time to break down without shredding is because the material has a high level of lignin. 

The issue with lignin is that bacteria are unable to break it down, meaning that the job is left to fungi and these fungi do not appear until much later in the process.

Because bamboo is a natural fiber it means that it is simultaneously both biodegradable and compostable. 

This makes it one of the best choices out there at the moment as a replacement for plastic products.

Tips for composting bamboo

Bamboo is a plant that grows at an incredibly fast pace. 

For this reason, you will want to help your bamboo decompose as fast as possible otherwise you risk having bamboo shoots sprouting from your composting pile! Bamboo can be a very difficult plant to get rid of so it is better to help it break down as fast as possible.

Get a chipper

As said above, shredding the bamboo before putting it into your composting pile will help it to decompose faster but it will also prevent it from sprouting. 

If you have a chipper to hand then this is by far the best method to do this. 

However, bamboo is a very strong material and so you should make sure that your chipper is powerful enough to handle it.

Worm composter

If you have a worm composter then bamboo is fine to add to this. 

However, you should make sure that you break the bamboo up into smaller pieces in order to allow the worms the best chance at breaking it down.

A handy tip is if you boil the scrap bamboo for roughly an hour before you add it to your worm composter then it will be softer, and hence easier, for the worms to eat.


When it comes to being environmentally friendly there are many things that we, as a species, can do. 

One of the biggest trends at the moment is the reduction of plastic, including with bags, packaging and even products themselves such as brushes.

Opting for natural fibers and materials instead of plastic means that there is less pollution after the fact.

For example, if a plastic bag ends up as litter then it will be hundreds of years before it breaks down. 

However, if a natural-fiber bag (such as one made from bamboo) ends up as litter then it will take a lot less time to break down.

Bamboo is both a sustainable and a sturdy material that is both compostable and biodegradable. 

It is a fantastic option as a replacement for plastic.

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