In a few years, bamboo might start popping up in some unexpected places — including Kleenex tissues, Huggies diapers, Viva paper towels, Scott toilet tissue and maybe even Kotex pads. Booshoot, the Mount Vernon, Wash.-based bamboo breeder and propagator, has signed an agreement with the Kimberly-Clark consumer products company, which makes all the aforementioned products. Under the pact, the two companies will explore the potential manufacture of tissue products containing bamboo fiber as an Earth-friendly substitute for traditional tree-based fiber.
Kimberly-Clark hopes to cut its use of forest fiber in half by 2025. Currently, the company uses about 750,000 metric tons of primary wood fiber in its products, all sourced from natural forests. It’s hoped the agreement will help the company reach its goal and save the forest fiber equivalent of three billion rolls of toilet paper each year.
“We are pleased to be working with such an established global leader in the tissue industry, and to play a role helping Kimberly-Clark meet their ambitious environmental targets,” said Booshoot CEO Jackie Heinricher. “Booshoot has the proven science and production capacity required to eventually produce millions of bamboo plants annually, which will play a critical part in reducing the world’s dependence on native forests.”
Booshoot will provide thousands of giant bamboo starts that Kimberly-Clark will use in trials to test the viability of bamboo as a tree fiber alternative. Phyllostachys edulis ‘Moso’ is one of the selections that will be tested. The companies believe it will compare favorably with northern softwood trees currently used, which take 60 years to reach harvestable maturity.
“‘Moso’ grows close to 100 feet tall and is harvestable in less than a decade, producing several times the fiber of traditional timber, and capturing four times the carbon dioxide of most trees,” the companies stated in a joint press release, which you can read here.