Hemp Sustainability Facts That Can Save Our Planet In 2020
Hemp is just like that new green superfood you have just heard about when it comes to the environment. It does everything! Hemp’s uses are endless and it is extremely gently on the environment.
When it comes to sustainability, hemp needs a tiny amount of natural resources to grow and it removes toxins from the soil. Hemp grows quickly and every part of the plant has a use. As the climate comes to the forefront of public discourse, hemp is one of the answers people are searching for but haven’t found yet as their champion to save the environment.
1. An Acre Of Hemp Produces 4 times More Paper Than An Acre Of Trees
Hemp is seen as a sustainable alternative for paper and other items which have been coming from trees for the past 100 years. Hemp is a far more productive plant when it comes to making paper and its high cellulose levels make hemps paper stronger, more durable and it does not brown with age.
One of the most interesting facts about hemp paper comes from a study carried out in 1916 by USDA in America before Prohibition that stated Hemp will produce 4 times more paper per Acre than trees.
Hemp paper technology currently needs to catch up to meet these figures and there are many other challenges in moving to hemp paper, included it’s cost as we have not yet achieved the economies of scale of traditional paper.
2. Hemp Grows Much Faster Than Trees
While Hemp will complete it’s full life cycle in 4 – 7 months, it takes trees 20 years + to grow. Given the faster growing times and with the right government incentives, Hemp growth for sustainable measures could sky rocket in no time.
Hemp is already a rapidly expanding crop and is being used for the medicinal benefits of CBD but a move toward subsidising sustainability uses, could increase this growth even further.
3. Hemp Removes Toxins From The Soil
Humans dependence on fossil fuels and industrial process have left a lot of land full of toxins and unable to sustain life and this is where hemp comes in.
Phytoremediation means removing toxins from the soil with the use of plants and Hemp is one of the leaders in this category. Some scientists claim that our soil is being badly depleted and we only have 60 harvests left with our current techniques.
Growing hemp for a cycle or two on this land can remove the toxins and make it suitable for life again. Hemp can grow on the same spot forever with minimal resources and never deplete the land.
Hemp is so good and removing toxins from the soil that it has even been used in Chernobyl successfully to remove radiation from the ground.
4. Hemp Is More Environmentally Friendly Than Cotton
Cotton is a very versatile plant that is used intensively around the world in everything from clothing and shoes to livestock feed. Cotton is relatively inexpensive to produce and is grown predominantly in the southern states with Texas being the number 1 producer.
Cotton has many advantages, but it requires a lot more water to grow than Hemp. Hemp is also a natural pesticide while cotton needs large volumes of pesticides and herbicides to grow and this has a negative impact on the soil and wildlife in the area.
Hemp and cotton can also be blended together to make clothing so any efforts to add hemp to the mix will positively impact our environment. Hemp will make cotton fabrics more tough and less prone to stretching, while cotton will make hemp fabrics softer and more stretchable.
Hemp is a more durable fabric than Cotton that is perfect for use in upholstery coverings and any items that don’t stretch while cotton is perfect for t-shirts and jeans where some stretch is preferable.
Hemp also boasts fast growing times, and higher yields than cotton producing 3 times more fibre per acre.
5. Hemp Absorbs Carbon And Produces Oxygen
Hemp can absorb as much as 22 tons of carbon per hectare grown and this carbon is binded with hemps fibres meaning the carbon will not be released when it is cultivated.
A fully grown tree can absorb as much as 46 pounds of carbon per year and up to a ton within 40 years.
These figures don’t take into account the other environmental benefits of using hemp over trees but you can clearly see that hemp is effective at carbon sequestration and given that hemp can produce two yields per year, it is rate as one of the fastest C02 to Biomass tools available to humans for removing carbon from the air.
6. Hemp As A Building Material
Building with hemp has been popular in Europe for 100’s of years and Hempcrete is slowly becoming more popular in America once again.
Hempcrete is creating by mixing Hemp Hurds with Lime and water and the resulting hempcrete can be squeezed between two wooden frame and allowed to set into a wall. It can also be used as a plaster with much the same formula and companies have also started to produce hempcrete blocks that can be used as foundations.
The Benefits of using Hemp as a building material are endless. Not only will growing the hemp remove carbon from the atmosphere, creating a building with Hempcrete will lock away even more carbon forever.
Hempcrete offers practical benefits too being a breathable substance that with incredible thermal properties. Hemp doesn’t just store water like concrete which results in damp and mould, it also releases any water as opposed to storing it making a breathable and much more healthy material.
Hempcrete thermal properties are awesome as well. Hemp stores heat when the temperature changes and releases it slowly over time. This is perfect for keeping your house warm throughout the night. It also means you can open the windows without losing all of your heat and can save significantly on heating bills.
If your houses walls aren’t build from hempcrete, you could consider using it as a plaster to receive the same benefits.
Hempcrete can also be used as an effective insulation and in floors for these breathable, thermally effective properties.
Check Out The Video On Building With Hempcrete
7. Hemp can be used as a fuel in cars
Hemp Fuel (Ethanol) is being seriously considered as an environmentally friendly alternative to fossil fuels which dump significant amounts of carbon into the atmosphere.
The possibility of using hemp as biofuel is certainly a possibility and it can produce almost as much energy per gallon as gasoline but it comes at a significantly lower price and can actually help to reverse to environmental havoc we have wreaked on the planet.
Rockefeller’s Standard Oil, Dupont and Mellon’s Gulf Oil all saw the threat of hemp as a fuel alternative to oil and moved quickly and effectively to remove it from the market place it what would turn out to be, one of the most devastating examples of corporate greed ever known to man.
Henry Ford build the Model T to run on hemp oil and he is well known for the following quote.
“Why use up the forests which were centuries in the making and the mines which required ages to lay down, if we can get the equivalent of forest and mineral products in the annual growth of the hemp fields?”
8. Hemp Makes Great Clothing
The hemp clothing industry has seen explosive growth since the passing of the farm bill in 2018. Hemp is the longest and strongest hemp fibre available from plants today and this durability, coupled with its ability to soften over time make hemp a perfect choice for clothing.
Hemp clothing has a hugely positive impact on the environment requiring no fertilizer or pesticides and needing only 5% of the water that cotton requires.
Hemp clothing is breathable, keeping you cool in the summer and warmer in the winter. Hemp clothing absorbs water much faster keeping you dry more effectively.
Hemp does come with some downsides, it is very tough, can come with an odour some people find distasteful and it tends to be more expensive, with prices coming down all the time.
Hemp and cotton don’t have to be used in isolation when it comes to clothing. Hemp and cotton can be blended extremely well for clothing and this may be a big step in the right direction as technologies to process hemp improve and hemp clothing becomes more accessible with benefits of scale.
9. Hemp Plastic Is Biodegradable within months
Many people disagree on climate change but the damage humans have caused to the planet with non-biodegradable plastic waste is undeniable.
Traditional plastics are non biodegradable, lasting up to 50 million years and its creating pumps toxins into the air. These toxic plastics last forever and cause untold damage to the planet and its wildlife.
Hemp plastic can be used for any application that traditional plastic is used for and it is fully biodegradable within months adding to the fact that hemp plastic is toxin free and actually benefits the environment.
As technologies improve and sustainability becomes more urgent, Hemp Plastics will become more and more widespread just like the rest of hemps uses.
BMW have already switched to a hemp based plastic for the exterior of their cars as it much stronger than traditional materials. Henry Ford had the same idea with his Model T, with part of its exterior being made from hemp plastic, 10,000 times stronger than steel.
10. Hemp is a potent natural Medicine
While THC from marijuana gets people high, CBD from hemp, gets people healthy. CBD is a cannabinoid found in the flowers of the hemp plant that is a powerful pain reliever that reduces inflammation effectively. This is making it an extremely popular supplement for athletes to eliminate addictive and toxic opioid based relievers and replacing it with a natural, non toxic supplement that has additional benefits and doesn’t damage the kidneys.
CBD’s pain and inflammation effectiveness have also made it hugely popular with the arthritic community.
Hemp is a plant interlinked with life on the planet like no other. All mammals including humans have an endocannabinoid system that receives and processes the beneficial cannabinoids from hemp to promote balance and wellness in the body and mind.
CBD feeds two types of receptors that are place all throughout the body and mind. CB1 and 2 receptors are found all throughout the body, mind and central nervous system and are responsible for pain, anxiety and stress and by feeding these receptors with CBD you can reduce the symptoms and return to a balanced state.
CBD is being touted as a solution for an incredible amounts of ailments because of the many CB receptors located throughout the body and it has been proven to actively stop seizures in children.
CBD comes in all shapes and sizes, you can get it in oils, creams and edibles. You have surely heard about the CBD craze by know but you can also find out more facts about CBD here.
11. Hemp As A Food Source
Hemp seeds are a quality source of healthy fats, complete protein and nutrients and actually have a hugely positive impact on the environment.
Hemp fats come with the perfect blend of Omega 3 to Omega 6 healthy fats that are hard to obtain from other sources and hemp protein is one of the leading vegan proteins on the market as people move away from dairy solutions.
Hemp seed is technically classed as a nut and hemp milk is also extremely popular, even for babies. It’s is packed with nutrients and is said to even have benefits for cancer.
Hemp as an environmentally beneficial solution is coming to the forefront of discussion whether we like it or not. Hemp is an incredible versatile plant, that grows quickly absorbing tons of carbon from the air.
Hemps prohibition in 1937 has had an irreparable effect on our plant but hemp can still be an active solution for our problems. The fact that more climate changers aren’t talking about it, leads me to believe that they are simply power hungry individuals trying to hijack a cause and they aren’t really serious about solving the issue. If they were, they would be screaming about hemp, but they are not!
If you want to do your bit for the environment, use hemp products as much as you can and promote the amazing benefits of hemp to your friends!
Aidan Lehane is an entrepreneur who has a lifelong passion for CBD, Hemp and allowing people to find an effective natural remedy to many of their pains and illnesses.
Aidan has been a constant advocate for cbd and hemp legalization for over 2 decades and is often found researching & creating blogs and videos about CBD, on the Great Hemp Youtube channel while testing and reviewing countless products for quality and effectiveness.