Jackie Heinricher understands bamboo. First she figured out a way to reproduce a species that doesn't take over your garden or yard. And now she's found a way to make it a fast growing, reliable way to make pulp for paper.
"What we hope to see is bamboo utilized for forestry and for it to ease pressure off naturalized forests,” she said.
Her company, Booshoot, is growing shoots to create bamboo forests on unused farmlands in the south. Not the invasive garden variety, but big trees, 100 feet tall, that can be harvested for pulp.
"But the big giant bamboos, the ones that are important to forestry, don't move like those little traditional green bamboos that we've used as privacy screens,” said Heinricher.
They don't move because their roots stay put and they have no seeds. That was the problem, how to grow a forest with no seeds.
"We cracked the code to multiplying bamboo," said Heinricher.
She says they did it with a secret process that doesn't use genetic modification and produces shoots that can produce trees that can produce an incredible array of goods.
From a forest of trees, you can mill it into a hard wood table, you can pound into a cotton-like material that can be turned into fine clothing or you can pulp it into paper products like this tissue."
Bamboo will never replace northwest timber, but Heinricher says it could take pressure off forests used to make paper pulp. Paper giant Kimberly Clark has signed on to see if it will work.