EcoPlanet Bamboo: Planting Seeds for Sustainable Products

While searching the web for eco friendly alternatives to, well, everything, we came across EcoPlanet Bamboo, a company that is revolutionizing the way we think about sustainable products: EcoPlanet Bamboo is working to transform major market sectors, replacing plastic and styrofoam single use packaging with a bamboo molded pulp alternative, and replacing unsustainable toilet and tissue papers with a forest-friendly bamboo alternative. Future initiatives target the production of a sustainable alternative textile.

EcoPlanet offers a path towards sustainability, but also operates under the pillars of regeneration, focusing on reforestation and community impact alongside business growth.

We were able to connect with Camille Rebelo, CEO and Co-Founder of EcoPlanet Bamboo and learn their story. Read on to learn how EcoPlanet Bamboo pioneering the way for bamboo to become the timber of the 21st century.

EcoPlanet Bamboo’s San Jose Farm in Nicaragua, from degraded pastureland to healthy and biodiverse forests.

Tell us a little bit about you, your background, and your current role:

I’m the Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of EcoPlanet Bamboo, where I’m responsible for the oversight and management of all of our sustainable bamboo farms around the world. My background is in climate change and the critical role that forestry plays in preventing catastrophic climate change.

At EcoPlanet Bamboo we’ve spent a decade building the framework for bamboo to be a “deforestation-free” alternative for key product sectors within the pulp and paper market, in particular for toilet paper and packaging. The first stage of this was development of a sustainable resource base – we’ve done this by restoring extremely degraded lands around the world into healthy bamboo ecosystems that can provide vast volumes of biomass and fiber without the destruction that comes from harvesting trees.

At the same time we’ve been working on clean tech to cover this alternative fiber into a 100% bamboo pulp in biorefinery, which has no negative impacts on the planet. The ultimate goal, therefore, is to have a seed to sale integrated supply chain of consumer products in each of the regions of the world that we work (Central America, across Africa and most recently Southeast Asia).

Camille giving a seminar on bamboo to the South Africa Dep. of Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries on EcoPlanet’s Kowie Bamboo Farm.

What is a fun fact about you?

At age 17 on a GAP year before college, I was sent to do an 8-week jungle expedition in Belize with an organization called Trekforce. We slept in hammocks far out in the jungle, undertaking a variety of conservation projects. It was then that I fell in love with tropical forests, and combining that with my love of conservation and wildlife, knew that finding a way to protect these ecosystems was what I wanted to do with my life.

Why do you think climate change and sustainability is such an important topic today?

We’ve been on this path for a long time – I worked in forest carbon markets and what has now become Nature Based Solution as far back as 2005. But Covid, followed by one natural “disaster” after another, has finally made every day people aware that climate change is not just something being touted by environmentalists, but whose effects are now being felt by millions of regular people around the world.

 EcoPlanet Bamboo’s projects are located in remote rural areas and have a strong focus on women empowerment.

What do you envision your industry looking like 10 years from now?

We are just waking up to the need for forest restoration, and the momentum in the past 12 months has been incredible. Our hope is that this momentum continues and that in 10 years we are living on a healthier planet, consuming food from sustainable sources and living in harmony with ecosystems and biodiversity.

Developing rigorous and healthy seedlings are the first step in the development of EcoPlanet’s bamboo farms and operations globally.

What can the average person do to make a difference?

Sadly asking people to change is not always the easiest or fastest route to disruption. We are therefore taking a different angle, and working towards providing a solution to every day consumer products that allows people to continue to live the way they do, but without the devastating impact on our planet. But in the mean time, reduce consumerism, reduce single use, and grow an understanding of where the every day items we rely on, from food to toilet paper to clothing, come from.

Seedlings in Ghana are held in EcoPlanet’s onsite holding nursery prior to planting to recover from transport stress.

Green.Org is a television show, podcast, social media, and news platform, hosted by Dylan Welch, that highlights climate change scientists, renewable energy experts, and clean tech entrepreneurs by giving them a voice in the mainstream media. The Green podcast highlights leading experts in cleantech, sustainability, media, finance, and real estate. Tune in and subscribe to the podcast on Apple or Spotify to listen to interviews with leading cleantech and sustainable experts. If you are interested in being featured on Green, click HERE.

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