Why Did We Stop Using Hemp to
As the technology and machines to extract pulp from trees developed, industries started using wood pulp to make paper. Since the 19th century, wood has been the primary paper source and is five to six times cheaper than hemp to produce paper.
Nowadays, however, hemp paper products are not entirely gone. This raw material is mostly used for cigarette papers, banknotes, and other specialty paper products. Although producing hemp paper could be more expensive than making paper from wood pulp, it is eco-friendly.
What is Hemp Paper?
Hemp paper is a product that can be made from the pulp of hemp plants or the bast fiber. Creating hemp paper products involves mechanically smashing the pulps to make thin sheets. Experts consider paper made from hemp more durable and sustainable than paper made from wood.
What Are the Benefits of
Hemp Paper Products?
Since only a few manufacturers have the equipment to process hemp fiber, it can be more costly. However, growing hemp has some astounding benefits compared to growing wood for paper.
Hemp Grows Faster Than Trees
It is known that the hemp plant grows fast and is ready for harvest in around four months. Trees, on the other hand, can take years to grow and be ready for harvest. Yes, manufacturers may need to make massive investments to process hemp pulp for paper. However, instead of harvesting once a decade, they could harvest annually. Plus, the other parts of the hemp plant can be sold as raw materials to other industries.
Hemp Has More
Cellulose Than Trees
Cellulose is the main ingredient needed to manufacture paper. While wood usually has around 40-50% of cellulose, hemp bast fibers can have up to 77% of cellulose.
Hemp Has Less Lignin
Hemp also has less lignin (5-9%), while woody core fibers can have up to 35%. Lignin is comparable to the glue that holds the cellulose fibers together and needs to be removed using harsh chemicals.
Hemp is an Eco-Friendly Alternative
Planting and harvesting hemp is considered by many as a highly sustainable processes. Here are the main reasons why:
- Hemp Needs Less Water: Hemp crops require less water than traditional crops such as cotton, soy, and corn. How hemp plants grow high makes no room for weeds, reducing the need for herbicides.
- Hemp Heals the Soil: Growing hemp also restores the soil quality and decreases erosion because of how deep the roots grow.
- Paper Made from Hemp Can Be Recycled More Times: Plus, hemp paper can be recycled up to 8 times, while wood pulp paper only up to 3 times.
Final Thoughts: Why Don’t We Use Hemp Paper?
The answer to that question is straightforward: because it’s an expensive process. Industry leaders still need to make massive investments in infrastructure to process hemp paper on a large scale. Although regulations in the United States are still being assessed, hemp products are a promising niche. While hemp earns more attention in the mainstream market, manufacturers should keep an eye on this industry.
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So, are you convinced about getting
into the hemp industry?
After reading and understanding more about this booming industry, how do you feel? Are you excited as we are? The possibilities with hemp are endless!
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