All too often, Bamboo is used as a ‘greenwashing’ sustainable term. But in reality, if you mix it with other products or soften it to pulp, it loses a lot of its eco-ness as this process uses excessive amounts of water. Also with tableware, bamboo is often mixed with Melamine and contains plastic and can be quite toxic (we wouldn’t risk serving hot food to our kids on bamboo fibre plates).
Where is the bamboo we use grown and under what conditions?
The bamboo we use for our baby plates, bowls, cups and cutlery is grown on ‘Bamboo Mountain’ next to a small village in Nanping, Southern China. It grows in normal soil. One bamboo plant, like the one pictured in the photo, grows to 35 metres. On average, we can use 25-30 metres of this for the production of our plates.
How is bamboo harvested?
The bamboo is cut after 3-5 years of growth. It grows up to 35 metres with a 28cm diameter Local micro-environments are not damaged.
Is our bamboo organic, are pesticides used at all?
Our bamboo is sourced from an FSC certified supplier. Organic. With zero pesticides used.
Can we describe the production process
from 'harvest to shelf'?
Bamboo is sustainably harvested all year round. Each bamboo plant is bought after an order has been placed which means there is no waste of raw material.
The bamboo is grown for three to five years and depending on when the bamboo is cut in life, will dictate whether the bamboo has a light or dark finish.
The Farmer separates one bamboo plant into four key areas. The base (first 70cm) is sent to utensil factories. The middle section (which is the largest section) is cut into L: 2m, D:60mm W: 3cm strips, the top section is cut to make chopsticks, the leaves are saved and kept for cleaning items such as brooms and brushes.
Each strip is sanded down to make it smooth and remove splinters. It then goes through a high temperature cleaning process to remove any insects or dirt.
The sawdust created from this process is then used as fuel to run the factory.
Once cleaned, they are left to dry for 15 days in a drying room and also a wind machine can be used to speed up the process (the wind machine is only used during wet conditions).
The strips are colour separated into three piles to ensure product colour consistency – but your owl plate might be a darker tone than your elephant plate – the wonders of each strip is then heat compressed to carbonize to make a ‘plank’ based on the size of the required product.
The planks are then cut into individual rectangles and sent to the CNC machines to create the plate shapes – this is a two- step process. Outline of plate is done in one setting. Then the hollowing of the plates is done in a second setting. Then they are polished by machine.
They are then polished by hand. A laser is used to add designs and logos.
Then they are inspected for quality.
They are boxed and packaged, then placed on pallets and loaded into containers for sea shipping to UK
On average, one bamboo plant can make 150 of our largest eco rascals plates.
Is the packaging recycled?
All packaging is made with recycled card/paper boxes which are recyclable. We use eco-friendly soy ink for colouring.
How environmentally friendly is the silicone used, how is it made? what colourants are used?
Silicone is not based on petroleum, but extracted from the DMC from the silicone ore and synthesised and refined by adding different components. The colours are made with toners.
Silicone is a great alternative to plastics for children’s products. It can be recycled. It’s incredibly stable. Completely Non-toxic. And unlike plastic, it won’t break down into small particles so won’t harm the environment.
What’s more, when designing our silicone range, we wanted to ensure the product could last the test of time. We only use the highest quality LFGB silicone and we made sure our silicone plates have a multiple function so that it grows with the child.
How progressed are plans to reduce transportation of the products?
Our bamboo products will likely always be produced in Asia as this is where the bamboo we need is grown and where the expertise lies in the manufacturing of our products.
As a brand, we are looking at products we can manufacture in different regions to reduce our reliability on China and to decrease our carbon footprint.