Who’s Got Two Pseudothumbs and Loves Bamboo? This Panda Bear.

Fossils found in southwestern China give a hint to the development of the panda’s sixth digit — a rudimentary, thumblike bone extension.

#bamboo, #china, #fingers, #fossils, #paleontology, #pandas, #research, #scientific-reports-journal, #your-feed-animals, #your-feed-science

Bamboo Is a Salve for Impoverished Nepal

The ubiquitous crop yields a degree of economic freedom — and lessons for other needy nations.

#agriculture-and-farming, #bamboo, #bureau-of-labor-statistics, #economic-conditions-and-trends, #internal-sub-only-nl, #kathmandu-nepal, #nepal

The Ancient History and Enduring Appeal of Flying a Kite

For millenniums, the airborne objects have mesmerized cultures around the world. Now, a new generation of artists is taking their creation to new heights.

#art, #bamboo, #handicrafts, #kites, #t-design-and-luxury, #textiles, #toys

The toilet paper startup backed by Marc Benioff, Dara Khosrowshahi, and Robert Downey Jr. now sells paper towels

Cloud Paper, the startup whose bamboo toilet paper (and celebrity and billionaire backers including Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Marc Benioff, Dara Khosrowshahi, and Mark Cuban) made a splash last year, is getting into the paper towel racket.

Starting today, the company is taking pre-orders for its 12 pack boxes of sustainably sourced bamboo paper towels, which will retail for $34.99.

The Seattle-based company was founded by two ex-Uber employees, Ryan Fritsch and Austin Watkins, who went on to take roles at the logistics startup Convoy, before launching Cloud Paper. Their toilet paper (and now paper towel company) is one of several businesses trying to get consumers to make the switch to bamboo-based consumer products.

Cozy Earth and Ettitude sell bamboo sheets and bedding; The Bamboo Clothing Co., Thought, Tasc, Free Fly Apparel, all make bamboo clothing; and Bite has a bamboo toothbrush to go with its plastic-free toothpastes and flosses.

But (I’m quoting myself here) Cloud Paper may be the only one to get such super wealthy, high profile investors to flush it with wads of cash. Even so, companies like Grove, Tushy, Reel, and the aptly named Who gives a crap, Inc. are all angling to wipe up a piece of the $10.4 billion market for toilet paper.

The company’s founders are on a mission to make the paper industry more sustainable, according to co-founder Ryan Fritsch, and they’re looking to do it one roll at a time.

While other companies look at bamboo as a replacement for cotton or plastics, the Cloud Paper co-founder said this company is squarely focused on toilet paper and paper towels because those products make up most of the crap that’s most wasteful in the paper industry.

The company has already ordered 1 million rolls of toilet paper for production and shipped hundreds of thousands of toilet paper, but the rationale for adoption has shifted, the company said.

“It definitely had its moment when the COVID shutdowns happened,” said Fritsch. “But [consumption] shifted from a TP panic to ‘There’s an easy and convenient, sustainable, option out there.’ It’s less of an all-out craze,” Fritsch said.

No less august a body than the National Resources Defense Council has come out swinging against how much waste is sacrificed to the commode.

For instance, the logging industry in Canada degrades over a million acres of its climate-critical forest, in part to feed U.S. demand for toilet paper, according to the NRDC. Demand from the U.S. has grown so substantially that, in recent years, Canada has ranked third globally in its rate of intact forest loss—behind only Russia and Brazil—mostly due to logging, the NRDC said.

Ninety percent of that is clearcutting, which exacerbates climate change. By the most conservative estimates, “logging in the boreal releases 26 million metric tons of carbon through driving emissions from the forest’s carbon-rich soils and eroding the forest’s ability to absorb carbon,” the NRDC wrote in 2020 report. “Toilet paper’s impact is even more severe because, since it is so short-lived, it quickly releases its remaining carbon into the atmosphere. That is why, according to the Environmental Paper Network, toilet paper made from trees has three times the climate impact as toilet paper created using recycled materials.”

That’s why wiping out forested paper can be a real boon in the climate fight.

“The lion’s share of usage is number one is toilet paper and number two is paper towels, after that the size of the market really really shrinks. We’re going to be continuing on the paper space,” said Fritsch. 

The company’s next act will be working with businesses like restaurants, hotels, and even stadiums and arenas to make the swithc.

“We launched the company as a B2B company. We were working with WeWork and restaurants and the market — if you look at where our paper products were being used,” Fritsch said. “So another big focus will be building products for our commercial customers where there’s higher capacity.”

Cloud Paper box of paper towels. Image Credit: Cloud Paper

#bamboo, #brazil, #canada, #cloud-paper, #co-founder, #consumer-products, #dara-khosrowshahi, #gwyneth-paltrow, #hygiene, #marc-benioff, #mark, #paper, #plants, #plastics, #public-health, #russia, #sanitation, #seattle, #tc, #toilet-paper, #towel, #tushy, #uber, #united-states, #wework

Investors cozy up to LA-based Ettitude’s bamboo bedding and sleep wear with $1.6 million

Ettitude, the Los Angeles-based, direct-to-consumer startup making sustainable bedding and sleepwear from bamboo fibers, has raised a sustainably sized round that should keep the company going even in the face of an economic recession.

Co-founded by the Melbourne, Australia native Phoebe Yu and serial entrepreneur Kat Dey, ettitude sells high-end bamboo bedding made using a process she first heard about in her old job working as an exporter helping chain stores source textiles in China.

Sourced from a factory in Zhejiang, China, near Shanghai, the bamboo textiles are made using non-toxic solvents and a closed-loop system that reuses water for the process, according to Yu.

Yu started selling the cleanBamboo-branded bedding under the etitude label in Melbourne first, but when she saw the orders begin to pick up from the U.S. she relocated and took her company with her.

Upon arrival, Yu realized that she’d need a strong co-founder with experience in branding to help her navigate the massive market in the U.S. So Yu turned to AngelList which is where she found Dey.

A serial entrepreneur with a background in retail, whose first company TryTheWorld was acquired by EarthBox in 2017, Dey was looking for her next project.

“Phoebe sent me a sample and i had the best night of sleep in my life,” Dey said. From then on in the two co-founders began the long, hard slog of marketing their business. 

Sales are growing, according to the two women, and the company’s chances have certainly been improved by the capital infusion from Drumbeat Ventures and TA Ventures, a European female-founded fund focusing on technology innovation.

The $1.6 million financing will be used to boost sales and marketing as the company expands beyond bedding — with an average price of $178 for a queen-sized sheet set — and into sleepwear and other categories.

“Phoebe, Kat and their brand, ettitude, are as genuine a combination of passion, purpose, and proprietary product that I’ve seen in the marketplace in my 20 years,” said Drumbeat Ventures founder, Adam Burgoon, in a statement. “They are perfectly positioned to bring their mission of sustainability and comfort to a broader audience.”

#angellist, #australia, #bamboo, #china, #los-angeles, #melbourne, #plants, #serial-entrepreneur, #shanghai, #tc, #united-states