When it comes to finding great sustainable materials, there are definitely a lot of good choices out there. One of those materials is hemp fiber. A lot of places have already been implementing hemp into their products, and it’s no wonder why. This is like the super material of sustainability. Even Henry Ford made a hemp car that ran on hemp fuel! Let’s take a look at hemp and its properties so you can see what I mean.
What is Hemp?
First, we need to start off with the basics. Hemp, also known as Cannabis Stavia, is a part of the Cannabaceae plant. Hemp is often confused with other cannabis plants such as marijuana. Although both contain the chemical tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), there isn’t enough present in hemp to cause a person to feel high.
Similarly to bamboo, hemp is one of the fastest-growing plants. 4,000 B.C. in China, is documented as the earliest use of hemp This is 1,000 years before cotton was first used. The fact that people have been using hemp for materials long before we used cotton, just for hemp to come full circle and play a role in making sustainable fabrics is interesting to see.
Other Hemp Uses
Hemp isn’t just a great replacement for unsustainable fabrics. Other products such as paper, rope, fuel, ink, makeup, batteries, surfboards, diapers, and sneakers can be made from hemp.
Another extraordinary use for hemp is using flying up, up, and away! Hempearth is a cannabis company that designed this plane. This lightweight plane can hold one pilot and four passengers. The hemp fibers are 10 times stronger than steel.
Why is Hemp Used as a Substitute?
One of the many benefits of using hemp fiber is how strong of a material it is. Compared to cotton, it has triple the strength. Hemp “plastic” is 3.5 times stronger than regular plastic and is stiff. If you start using hemp bags, you no longer have to worry about your plastic or paper grocery bags ripping as you walk to your door.
Hemp is also 100% biodegradable, so it won’t be sitting in the landfills taking up space for too long. It can take up to a month or so to decompose. Unlike plastic, that takes about an estimated 20 years to decompose. Meanwhile, plastic bottles take around 450 years to decompose.
These stats are the reason why hemp plastic is gaining popularity. Bioplastics are made from hemp fiber. Bioplastics are made from biodegradable materials like hemp, vegetable fats, oils, and cornstarch.
What are the Downfalls of Using Hemp?
We’ve touched on how great of a material it is and all of the benefits that it can provide us, but what about the other side of things? Why isn’t it used everywhere if it’s such a great material?
As hemp clothes aren’t made with anti-wrinkle chemicals, these clothes wrinkle very easily. It’s also more expensive than unsustainable materials. However, since hemp is stronger and lasts longer, you may not have to buy new clothes so frequently.
Another challenge is that a lot of people lump it into the same category as marijuana without actually knowing the difference between them. As a result, the legislation banning the cultivation of the plant in places around the world is stunting its potential. This is why it’s so crucial for everybody to do their research.
According to the USDA, The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 authorized the production of hemp as well as removing it from the Drug Enforcement Administration’s list of controlled substances. Even though the United States has moved in the right direction, a lot of countries still banning the plant leads to them missing out on the sustainable properties of hemp.
Share With Us
Do you think it’s a great substitute for the unsustainable materials out there? Do you use hemp products? Let us know what you think by tagging @uylmagazine on Facebook or Instagram. If you want to read more on other different kinds of sustainable materials, check out our, “Can Sustainable Fashion be the New Trend?” for more.