Archive for December 2012 | Monthly archive page

Smile Squared Bamboo Toothbrushes

2014 Update: Bamboo toothbrushes are now available at Bambu Batu. Order yours now!

Healthy teeth are important for a winning smile and a robust immune system. A good brushing at least twice a day is optimal for keeping the pearlies white and cavity-free. Unfortunately, while we are trying to do well by ourselves, we may be causing harm to the planet. About 450 million plastic toothbrushes are thrown into landfills each year in the United States alone. Each piece takes over 1,000 years to degrade, leaving a legacy of pollution and waste. Realizing that caring for ourselves does not have to come at the expense of the environment, green-minded companies have come up with alternatives to petroleum-based brushes. Of course, our favorites are those made from the ever and always sustainable bamboo!

Brush with Bamboo- Founded by the Kumar family in Southern California back in 2008, Brush with Bamboo began as a journey towards sustainability. The family converted their suburban home into an organic farm and learning center and started Brush with Bamboo as a way to help reduce the impact of plastics on the environment. The handles of their toothbrushes are made of bamboo and are curved to feel comfortable both in the hand and mouth. The bristles are composed of a blend of 30% bamboo and tea plants, and 70% nylon. While the bristles are not biodegradable, they can be recycled. The packaging is biodegradable and made from 100% bamboo. The toothbrushes last just as long as their plastic counterparts, but are much gentler on the planet.

Smile Squared- Imagine if something as simple as brushing your teeth could change the world! During a humanitarian mission to Central America, the founders of Smiled Squared witnessed the importance of dental hygiene on a child’s life. From health to aesthetics, they were determined to make a positive impact in the lives of impoverished youth by giving the gift of a shining, stellar grin. With each bamboo toothbrush purchased, Smiled Squared donates one to a kid in need. With a bamboo handle, DuPont bristles, and biodegradable package, the brushes are a wonderful way to help others while also helping yourself. Bambu Batu is proud to carry both their adult and children’s toothbrushes!

Planting bamboo

Curbing global climate change is going to be a massive undertaking for the human race, and we are going to need all of  the tools at our disposal. One mighty weapon in capturing carbon and removing it from the atmosphere is (you guessed it) bamboo. It turns out planting bamboo is one of the easies and most enjoyable ways to capture carbon and replenish the oxygen in the atmosphere.

Earlier this month, a delegation from EcoPlanet Bamboo was asked to speak at the UN’s Framework Convention on Climate Change in Doha, Qatar. They presented their platform on the  sixth day of the conference, dubbed “Forest Day”. The special designation was meant to ensure that the health of the world’s plant life was high in the list of topics for the world’s politicians. This year’s theme was “Living Landscapes: Solutions for a Sustainable World”, which was intended to bring together experts in the field to discuss the impacts of forests on agriculture and society.

Scientists have found that a full quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions are due to deforestation. Through reforestation and and rehabilitation of degraded ecosystems, EcoPlanet Bamboo aims to create living carbon sinks. One of their Central American Guadua bamboo plantations alone will sequester 816,000 tons over the next 20 years. In addition to clearing clearing the air, their FSC certified bamboo will provide alternatives to old growth timber and traditional textiles, helping to slow the rate of clear-cutting and negative land use.

If you’re interested in planting bamboo here on the Central Coast, please check out Paso Bamboo Nursery for the best selection of drought tolerant bamboo species, ideal for growing on the Central Coast.


“No snow.  No ski.” asserts the Soul Poles website.  The company, based in Utah, makes ski poles out of bamboo and knows all to well the impact that global warming is having on the levels of alpine snow. Acknowledging the fact that climate change directly influences the success of their business, Soul Poles has committed itself to being as environmentally responsible as possible.  Founded by former members of the U.S. Ski Team racers, the equipment is fashioned by hand in the United States, helping to create local jobs and and curb emissions that contribute to the rise of greenhouse gasses.

Poles are available in models suited for both skiing and trekking.  Fabricated using bamboo, recycled plastics, and recycled aluminum they are available in a natural finish or customized colors that use a low VOC water-based paint and clear coat.  Sturdy and attractive, the body of the pole is 100% biodegradable. Ranging from $110-350, Soul Poles are a fantastic alternative to non-recyclable synthetic materials.

In an effort to help the ski and snowboard industry become a little more green, Soul Poles has partnered with Recycle Utah to educate consumers on how to safely dispose of their unwanted gear.  The company is also a member of 1% for the Planet, a non-profit that contributes a portion of total revenue to environmental organizations.  Soul Poles also partners with World Cup Dreams, a group that assists winter sports athletes to achieve their goals as professional competitors, and Protect Our Winters which focuses on uniting and engaging the global snow sports community.

Nothing says “I love you” and “screw this whole Black Friday mess”  like putting the time and effort into hand-making a gift or holiday decoration.  Why go to a big box store and buy something that everyone else will have under their tree this year? Instead, grab your power tools, sewing box, and craft kit, throw some spiced cider on the stove, and get ready to create a little holiday cheer!

Tree for all – When celebrating the magic of Christmas, show a little love to your floral family by sparing the tree this year. If you are still pining for the smell of pine, pick up a potted tree to spruce up your home, and start the tradition of planting you new friend in the garden or park after Christmas. If you are a little short on cash, arrange your books into the shape of a tree in your shelves, or construct a faux fir from recycled cardboard and bottles. For those living in close quarters, wall stickers and frames make for a space-saving and attractive 2D tree. Even an old ladder from the garage can create an excellent frame for lights and ornaments!

For the light show, consider using low-energy, efficient LEDs. Not only do they shine brightly in a myriad of different colors, but they don’t kick out as much heat or waste electricity. Consider putting them on a timer to shut them off while you sleep and wait for Santa.

Spirits of the Season- Concoct your own top-shelf flavored alcohol this season with easy at-home recipes. Depending on how savvy you are around the still, it may be best to buy a base such as rum or vodka from the store and add ingredients to infuse into the booze. Favorites include Limoncello, Mocha Cream Liqueur, and Sangria.  For the infused liqueurs, make sure to start ahead of the holidays, as some require some time to marinate in the bottle. When finished, present a bottle as a gift, crack it open at your next gathering, and count the minutes until your crazy uncle dons a light-shade for a hat.

Deck the Halls- The closest thing that those of us on the Central Coast will get to snow is making our own from paper and scissors. Office cooler cups can be arranged to make some pretty stunning, snow-white stars, and you can never beat the classic cotton ball for a fluffy drift. (Bonus points if you use organic cotton!) Reclaimed wood, screws, and old ribbon can make a simple and attractive patterns for five or six pointed stars, and even old PVC pipes can be repurposed into s surprisingly lovely holiday wreath.