bamboo flooring section
Photo: Courtesy of Mannington Mills
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Myth: Bamboo is always a good alternative to wood

Reality: Yes, this versatile grass grows lightning fast, making it extremely replenishable and a great ­alternative to hacking down old-growth forests.
Engineered right, it's as solid as oak, too. Here's the thing: It takes a lot of fuel to get bamboo, mostly grown in China, to your doorstep; some bamboo products contain toxic finishes and adhesives; and a lot of it is grown with zero regulation over its harvesting practices and work conditions. Some bamboo is also harvested before it fully matures, rendering the products made from it a lot less durable. To make sure your bamboo is as green as can be, ask how it's harvested and manufactured. You can also look for third-party certifications from Scientific Certification Systems (SCS), which tests its indoor air emissions, or the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), which certifies bamboo products and looks at everything from harvesting to conservation practices.
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