Skip to content


Share this:

Cellulose is a raw material with growing demand at a global level.  Italy does not produce enough of it and is forced to import several million tons of it to meet its domestic demand.

Bamboo is mainly composed of cellulose and hemicellulose and represents a fast-growing and abundant source of them.  Its fibres are used to produce paper and all its derivatives, as well as excellent fabrics.

Currently only about 7% of the world’s virgin pulp is derived from non-wood sources, such as bagasse, straw and bamboo.

The decline of forests at a planetary level and the shortage of wood force us to rethink production, turning to alternative and sustainable sources.

Different types of pulp required by different markets are obtained from bamboo pulp.  The ground or refined fibres can be converted into panels made from a paste of glue or cement, or into fibre-reinforced polymeric composites.

Bleached bamboo fibres can be used in pulp blends for printing and writing paper.

Highly purified bamboo cellulose fibres can be converted into textiles.

Bamboo pulp and paper

The giant bamboo is an excellent environment’s ally because it absorbs large amounts of carbon dioxide, acting as an air filter.  It has been estimated that a bamboo forest has a far greater capacity for air quality improvement than a native essences forest.

From the giant bamboo, defined by someone as “green gold”, we obtain timber with mechanical characteristics equal to oak and superior to fir, which can be used in the automotive, nautical, furniture and building industries.  From bamboo shoots, we can obtain super nutritious food of excellent quality.

Fibres obtained from the bamboo, after properly being processed in a cooking process with water and chemicals, become pulp.

The bamboo pulp is dried, then compacted into sheets or bales for later distribution.

Paper and textiles are made from bamboo pulp.

The Italian paper industry

It’s an industry with a business volume of € 7.4 billion worth (source Sole24ore, ed.  05/2018). In Italy, the production of cellulose and the cultivation of trees, such as historical poplar groves, are now marginal and paper factories are forced to the role of net importers of this raw material.

To meet domestic needs, Italy imports from 3.5 to 4 million tons of pulp each year, equal to 92% of the national demand (source: Assocarta).

With a view to the Green Deal, pulp-based paper products will gain new market share in markets traditionally linked to plastics.

Margins and potentials from bamboo pulp

From the data of the Assocarta Study Center, the value of cellulose is continuously rising: from 1090$/ton. for long virgin fibres and 1030$/ton. for short ones. This is an increase of 35% and 59% respectively compared to the end of 2016 (source: Sole24ore).

In China and India, pulp production from wood is being reduced more and more, orienting it towards bamboo, by crushing the internal fibres of the plant.  It is paid from 1,300 to 1,400 yuan/ton, at the current exchange rate it is about 170-190€/ton.

Bamboo pulp supply chain

Through the creation of a new supply chain of sustainable pulp and eco-industries, where possible, the creation of a bamboo forest owned by and near the factories should be seriously considered.

Italy and Europe have a strong demand for cellulose and through the bamboo supply chain we are responding to those needs in an environmentally sustainable way, as well as giving value to the territory where a bamboo grove is planted. At the moment those needs are responded only with the import of cellulose from other countries.  

More generally, cultivating giant bamboo in Italy means creating a new, virtuous and clean economy that can enhance the land and possibly retrain workers who, due to the recent health and economic emergencies, have been cut off from work.

Share this: