Sustainable Cork Fabric Home Accessories By Bambu

bambu placemat

Bambu’s newest line of cork fabric home and lifestyle products deliver a natural flair with a smaller carbon footprint.

Ok, let’s clear a couple of things up right away. This post is about a company called Bambu. Yes, they’ve made a name for themselves with handcrafted plates and utensils made from earth-friendly bamboo. But that’s not what this post is about.

Recently Bambu branched out into cork, another uber sustainable material that’s long been relegated to wine bottles and bulletin boards. They offered me a chance to take a couple of items from this new line for a test-drive, and, always on the lookout for responsible companies willing to buck the status quo, I jumped on it. Here’s what I discovered.

cork accessories

Soft, Flexible Cork

If the only cork you’ve encountered is shaped like, um, a cork, or riddled with thumb-tacks this may come as a surprise: cork doesn’t have to be rigid. All of the Bambu cork products I sampled were incredibly soft and flexible, especially the placemat and coasters. Hand constructed and backed with black cotton and contrast stitching, both items are naturally water and stain resistant. Which means (drum roll please…) you can throw them in the washing machine! Cork fabric is also dust and dirt-repellent, and inherently anti-bacterial and hypoallergenic.

Cork Bowl

Simple, Durable Design

If there’s one thing I hate, it’s “sustainable” products that are so high-priced or delicate that you’re scared to use them in your actual life. What good is a hand-crafted, artisinal anything if you’re constantly terrified of ruining it? This was absolutely not the case with Bambu cork fabric products. The slim wallet instantly caught the attention of my boyfriend, who noted its simplistic design and the fact that it would take up so little room in his back pocket. (Drawbacks he noted included the lack of a billfold portion and the rather large brushed-brass clasp element. Could be painful if you sit on it wrong).

Meanwhile, I’ve spent the last week or so playing around with the Adjust-A-Bowl, which has taken up permanent residence in the center of our dining room table. The silky, durable cork fabric is very pliable, allowing you to shape it, fold it, or even roll its edges to modify its size. So far, ours has held keys, mail, and a chubby orange cat who loves to snooze in baskets.

bambu cork wallet

Responsible Manufacturing

I am constantly disappointed by how many “responsible” products are made in China to take advantage of cheap labor. Who cares whether or not your product is green when the people making it are treated like slaves? One of the most impressive things about Bambu is how they’re working to change this.

With roots in Portland, Oregon, the company is headquartered in Shanghai, China. Not only are Bambu’s production workshop, partnering facilities, raw-materials sources there, however, but the company’s founders re-located there as well. They live alongside the woodworkers, weavers and stitchers that make their products. “We make strides to further our commitment to 3rd-party certification and testing, promote fair labor practices and safe working conditions, and green our supply chain.” The company is a member of Green America and its Green Business Network, and manufactures using organic sources certified by IMO Switzerland. A selection of Bambu’s products are USDA Biobased-certified.

Images: Bambu