Jiangqiao Bamboo and Wood hails from China’s Jiangxi province, where bamboo resources are plentiful. Though the company began as a flooring company, they are now diversifying their production to include the latest in green design: bamboo keyboards.
In recent years, bamboo – a rapidly regenerating material – has gained popularity as a sturdy, sustainable alternative to wood flooring. Currently, China produces 200,000 cubic meters annually of bamboo plywood.
[social_buttons]However, the history of bamboo’s use as an interior and even exterior material goes back way before sustainable buildings became trendy. Native to much of South and Southwest China, bamboo was first used to make paper, calligraphy brushes, and musical instruments thousands of years ago. For well over a century, it has been crafted into a range of household articles including chairs, baskets, mats, cutlery, and cabinets.
Bamboo – which is actually a grass – can be harvested after only four to six years of growth, much shorter than the 30-60 years required for comparable wood species. Replanting is not necessary, as bamboo regenerates on its own; and the speed at which it does so means it offers excellent erosion control.
Jiangqiao, which began manufacturing the green keyboards last October, has already received orders for 40,000 finished units, and is China’s sole producer of bamboo keyboards.
The company says the product is as strong as its plastic equivalent. Proof that bamboo’s strength surpasses what its flexibility suggests lies in the fact that modern Hong Kong developers prefer bamboo over steel reinforcing rods when constructing some of the world’s tallest skyscrapers.
Jiangqiao faced the same difficulties typical for adapting bamboo for industrial use, including keeping the bamboo keyboard frame from cracking, preventing the bamboo bottom plate from distorting and firmly fashioning the buttons with the main board. However, the company has successfully developed (and patented) its formula, and also developed a bamboo mouse and USB expected to go on the market this spring.
Though Jiangqiao is not the first company to use natural resources in computer accessories, it may be the most eco-friendly. Much of the bamboo used in the keyboards, says the company’s general manager, is leftover scrap from bamboo floorboard manufacturing.
Combining efficiency with aesthetically pleasing design, Jiangqiao is earning a name for itself in innovation and sustainability.
Photo Credit: Cleaner Greener China