The current pulp and paper industry is one of the biggest industrial polluters. One acre of hemp produces more pulp than 4 achres of trees, and only takes 5 months to grow. Paper made from wood pulp requires chemical bleaching to make it white, the waste of which often ends up polluting water systems. Paper made from hemp pulp does not require chemical bleach as it can be whitened using hydrogen peroxide, which doesnt poison the waterways.
Paper made using wood pulp lasts only around 50-100 years in good condition, while hemp paper remains strong and white for several hundred years. Wood paper can be recycled 3 times only, while hemp paper can be recycled approximately 7-8 times.
Hemp produces the strongest natural fiber known to man. Most common hemp plastics are made by infusing hemp fibers. Conventional plastics are made using non-renewable oil, and are one of the worlds worst polluters. Conventional plastic is non-degradable and contains harmful chemicals such as BPA (Bisphenol A), which is suspected of causing neurological and behavioral problems in fetuses and young children and has also been linked to brain, breast, prostate, reproductive and immune system cancer. BPA has also been shown to advance puberty in teenagers, cause heart disease, diabetes, erectile dysfunction, and even recurrent miscarriages.
Hemp plastic is made entirely from the hemp plant, therefore requiring no harmful chemicals, and can be manufactured to be quickly bio-degradable. Hemp plastic is also a much stronger material than oil based plastics, and therefore offers a load more uses than conventional plastics.
Lets compare hemp fabric to the most common clothing material we currently use: cotton.
Cotton requires double the volume of water than hemp does to grow a field of the same size. Not only does hemp require less water, but it produces 200%-250% more fibre than cotton in the same space. Cotton requires a huge amount of pesticides in order to grow a full crop, whereas hemp doesn't require any pesticides, or any chemical assistance at all. Although hemp isn't initially as soft as cotton, each wear and wash of a piece of hemp clothing will make it softer and softer, and it is much more durable than cotton, which begins to break down after a while. Hemp carries anti-bacterial properties which avoid the growth of mould and mildew and is more odour resistent than most other fabrics (although bamboo is a strong competetor!). Full Hemp vs Cotton breakdown here.
People are becoming increasingly aware of the nutritional benefits of eating hemp seeds, in either their whole or shelled form. They are a great source of protein and minerals such as phosphorus, potassium, sodium, magnesium, sulfur, calcium, iron and zinc, and no... they are not psychoactive. Hemp seeds can be used to make rich and flavourful milk alternatives, and can be stirred into almost any recipe.
Not only are the seeds of the hemp plant edible, but the iconic looking leaves are also a fantastic source of minerals when eaten raw, or made into fresh or dried tea. The hemp plant is fully loaded with pretty much all of the dietary elements we need to survive. Vitamins, minerals, complete protein, omegas 3 and 6, the list goes on. Click here for a dietitian's perspective on cannabis. Many types of oils can be derived from the hemp and cannabis plants, from cold-pressed seed oil to use in cooking and dressings, to concentrated cannabinoid oils used to treat a variety of diseases and ailments. Find more info on the medicinal uses of hemp/cannabis on the Medicinal Hemp page.
Cars have become an essential tool of modern society as towns and cities are divided and connected with vast roads. Car fuel is currently unsustaibable, as well as causing a huge amount of damage to the environment. Bio-fuel can be made from many plant based oils, hemp seed being one. Though it is arguable that hemp fuel may not be economically beneficial to hemp farmers at the present moment, that would possibly be able to change once the hemp industry inevitably expands. Regardless of whether it is logistically viable to make hemp fuel, the point is its possible. Hemp can do almost anything. We can make cars from hemp and run them on hemp. Time to raise awareness!
Hempcrete is probably the best alternative to concrete the world can offer. The 'shiv' is the part of the hemp that is left after all the pulp has been extracted for other uses. Hemp shiv is mixed with naturally occuring lime to create an extremely efficient building material. It is lightweight, breathable, insulative and strong. Twilight Designz are currently offering 20% off on any projects involving the use of hemp materials! Hemp can also be used to create different types of standard insulation. Hemp fleece is used as an alternative to rockwool or similar products, but can be installed without the use of protective clothing. So if you're looking to build a home, or extention, or any kind of structure, consider the use of hemp to decrease maintenance costs and provide an ecologically efficient space to live.