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Totally Bamboo

Totally Bamboo

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Until recently, about the only kitchen product made of bamboo were spoons or skewers with an occasional Chinese steamer thrown in. But now, the world’s first line of bamboo cutting boards is proving its worth in beauty and durability in kitchens nationwide. Totally Bamboo of North Hollywood, California has launched the first-ever full line of high-grade all natural bamboo cutting boards made with completely non-toxic glue. Their kitchen and tabletop accessories are designed to be attractive and ultra-longwearing.

“Besides the great look of bamboo, what most people don’t realize is that it is actually 16% harder than maple, which makes it ideal for cutting boards,” says Tom Sullivan of Totally Bamboo. The Totally Bamboo cutting boards are made of flattened strips of the hardest Chinese mountain timber bamboo called “Moso”. The strips undergo a series of specialized procedures to sterilize and cure them, which further tightens and tempers the bamboo to the perfect hardness. The bamboo strips are never colored or stained; their dark rich color presents itself when the natural sugars of the wood are caramelized with heat during the curing process producing the permanent honey color of the boards.

In the last ten years the flooring industry has turned to bamboo as a alternative to using hardwoods and in doing so have developed the specialized machinery that makes this all possible. Unfortunately bamboo is notoriously difficult material to glue. The flooring industry resolved this by using formaldehyde based glue, but this was not an option for our cutting boards. Frustrated with several attempts to find an adhesive that was both safe and durable Sullivan hired a chemist who developed very strong completely non-toxic formaldehyde free food grade glue. “As far as we know we are the only company using such glue” says Sullivan.

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Another interesting aspect to the Totally Bamboo story is that the material was discovered almost by accident. Sullivan and his wife Joanne own and operate a small design and manufacturing studio, focusing on luxury, customized director chairs for the movie industry. In their quest for a lighter chair, they experimented with laminated bamboo, long known for its strength vs. weight ratio. The resulting chair was not only lighter but much stronger than the oak they had previously used. In the design process Tom made mountains of scrap bamboo planks one of which Joanne took home to use in her kitchen, as a cutting board. She discovered one of bamboo’s unique qualities, it is 16 percent harder than maple! Even after a year of constant use it still looked almost new. Intrigued with using such a renewable, ecologically friendly material they set out to design and developed the world’s first bamboo cutting board.

One thing led to another and now they are producing over 125 different items from salad bowls and plates to serving trays now available in over 4,000 stores nationwide. Their goal is to change the way the world uses bamboo, as a viable alternative to our precious hardwood trees.

Bamboo is actually a grass that grows to a harvestable height of 60 feet in about 3 – 5 years, growing as much as 3 feet per day. It has an extensive root system that continually sends up new shoots, naturally replenishing itself. It does not require replanting, making it one of the most renewable resources known.

Bamboo holds the promise of a sustainable, cost effective and ecologically responsible alternative to the widespread clear cutting of our world’s vanishing timberland.

Totally Bamboo products can be purchased online at www.thegreenecostore.com





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