Hemp is more than just the plant that produces CBD, it is one of the most useful and valuable plants that has ever existed on our planet. The seeds and fiber can be processed to make eco-friendly alternatives to modern necessities such as concrete, plastics, fuels and textiles, all of which rank among the most polluting industries in history.
Hemp is easy to grow
One of the reasons that cannabis and hemp have been so succesful in spreading across the planet is that it’s a relatively easy crop to grow. It isn't called a weed for no reason. The crop can thrive in highly inhospitable soil environments, without much water and without the need for harmful pesticides.
Hemp doesn’t require a lot of water
According to the World Bank, the agriculture industry uses approximately 70% of the world’s freshwater supply and demand is only expected to increase with population growth. Due to population growth, urbanization and climate change it’s estimated that agricultural production will need to expand by 70% by 2050 if current consumption trends are maintained.
By comparison, hemp crops require six times less water than traditional agricultural grain crops. If hemp can help transition away from water-intensive crops such as cotton it will relieve the pressure on freshwater systems globally. That can only be a good thing.
Hemp can be used as a fuel
Hemp seeds, regularly discarded, contain essential plant oils which can be turned into biofuel. At the University of Connecticut, biodiesel produced by graduate students and researchers had a 97 percent conversion efficiency.
Biofuel is a more sustainable source of energy than fossil fuels and is much less destructive to the environment than oil extraction. Hemp has the potential to be one of the most sustainable sources of biofuel and is easier and less destructive to grow than competitor crops such as sugar beet, palm oil or corn.
Hemp vs Cotton
Cotton is one of the world’s most common textiles accounting for an estimated 39.5% of the raw materials market in 2019. Having been used for over 7000 years, cotton is biodegradable, cheap to produce and plentiful. However, it’s remarkably water-intensive to cultivate and accounts for 11% of pesticides and 24% of insecticides. It takes around 2,700 liters of water to grow enough cotton to make a single t-shirt.
Hemp, on the other hand yields double the amount of fibers than a cotton plant and its roots are beneficial for the soil, protecting it from toxins and erosion. It’s been nearly 30 years since experts managed to manufacture a hemp fabric soft enough to compete with cotton but brand leaders such as Levi’s and Patagonia are now helping bring hemp fabric back into the mainstream.
Hemp vs PlasticPlastic is made from non-renewable fossil fuels that contribute to waste and environmental destruction
It takes 22 gallons of water to make a single pound of plastic. Less than 10% of plastic is recycled and 60% ends up in landfills. It takes at least 450 years to decompose a single plastic bottle. By 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish (by weight)
Hemp plastics provide a strong, sturdy and biodegradable alternative to oil-based plastics due to its abundance of cellulose, which helps make hemp textiles so strong. We know what we would rather use.
Manufacturers extract hemp cellulose to make cellophane, rayon, celluloid and a variety of related plastics, all of which are biodegradable.