While harvesting bamboo during a yearlong surfing expedition to Hawaii in 2004, two friends realized bamboo fiber could be used in the manufacturing of everyday composite products.
Jeff Goldberg, CEO of Cali Bamboo, and Tanner Haigwood, CIO of the company, returned from their Hawaiian sabbatical and went to work developing a line of bamboo products, including composites, says Walter Hicks, manager of media development for the company.
Cali Bamboo now sells a variety of wood-substitute products, says Hicks. “We are innovators in the industry. We make new products such as composite decking in addition to some of the more standard bamboo products like plywood and flooring.” Bamboo is the fastest-growing plant on the planet, Hicks says, can be harvested every three to five years, does not damage the soil, and acts much like wood composite-manufactured products.
The company also makes other non-composite bamboo products, such as mats and fencing, and the byproducts from that side of the business supply the raw material for manufacturing the company’s composites, such as BamDeck — a bio composite alternative to wood decking. The bamboo-based composite consists of 60 percent post-consumer grade, high-density polyethylene plastic, and recycled bamboo, says Hicks.
BamDeck has been on the market for two years, and “is holding up in all kinds of climates,” Hicks says. “It’s been a very impressive product. Our only problem now is spreading the word.”