A friend and I are debating whether bamboo is as environmentally friendly as it's billed to be. Sure, it grows fast. But it has a tremendous carbon footprint since it has to be shipped from overseas. Then again, so do a lot of other kinds of wood. We're wondering if it's just a wash?
--Wendy in Des Plaines, Illinois
It all depends on how — and how far — the bamboo or wood is transported. Ocean vessels emit less than a sixth of the carbon dioxide that big rigs do while moving one ton of stuff the same distance. So it's possible that bamboo shipped in from, say, China could have a smaller footprint than domestically grown wood trucked 1,000 miles, or brought 2,000 miles by rail.