I've worked in the graphic desing industry for 20 years and have had many papers made for print projects. I can tell you bamboo is much better than most virgin fibers. First, it's likely to be grown without any pesticides, etc. Usually isn't bleached and grows fast in smaller plots of land, more densely planted. (It is a grass) Has longer fibers than paper so it's stronger and more recyclable (can be recycled more times before fiber gets too short to use). Generally takes less energy to produce than wood or cotton without much waste in the process. (you can use most of the plant, the rest is mulch)
Cotton is usually high in pesticides/herbicides. Takes more energy to produce and is bleached to make it white. Also takes alot of land to grow.
Wood pulp takes more energy with more waste in the process, using bleach to whiten it and disrupts many natural habitats in the process. Making paper is probably the worst use of a tree in my opinion, as there are many better options out there.
Glad to see the fine art industry is getting smarter about resources. Bamboo, Kenaf (similar to bamboo, and hemp are all great sources of paper fiber and naturally whiter than wood.
OK, probably more than anyone wanted to know but couldn't help myself.
I read similar comments every time I mention my doubts but I never see a reference where bamboo is compared with numbers on aspects like you mention. Right now about 3% of paper pulp comes from bamboo sources. Any source of pulp is used as the demand in China etc for pulp increases dramatically. But that percentage stays. Bamboo isn't replacing another source and there is no news of bamboo plantations created for paper pulp production. There are some reports though about old bamboo forest plundered like there's more forest plundered in S.E. Asia. What I did read about the energy that goes into the pulp production of different pulp sources is that there's little difference.
True it grows fast, the variety of bamboo delivers all kinds of products and it looks fantastic. But you have to cut a lot of bamboo to get the equivalent in usable pulp that a production tree delivers. That's it. No further magic.
There's more to read as I have done after the enthusiasts embraced Hahnemuhle's Bamboo. Just look what HM tells about its bamboo sources, certification of pulp source plantations, etc. Nada. I bet they can get better ecological documents on the table for their wood pulp (as required in the EU) than for the bamboo pulp. The main pulp source of HM is wood, then cotton (and that is bad), then bamboo. I guess it isn't 3% of their production. There will be other alpha fiber sources too I guess.
I like to be green in a realistic way.