Hemp Helps

Hemp is one of the fastest growing plants and thrives in different soil conditions. It is typically found in the northern hemisphere and is a variety of Cannabis sativa plant species. It was one of the first plants to be spun into usable fiber centuries back. The earliest uses of hemp date back to the Chinese, in the 28th Century B.C. The flexibility for the product makes it possible to make animal feed, biofuel paint, biodegradable plastics, paper, textiles and insulation. Organic materials based plastics were in use much before fossil fuel-based plastics. Scientific research is finding new ways to use hemp as more and more plastic related environmental disasters are coming to the forefront.

Hemp seeds have high nutritional value. Hemp protein powder is a health product much in demand today. Hemp foods available today are salad dressing, energy bars, milk, protein shakes etc.

Hemp plastic

Hemp plastic is made from industrial hemp which is one of the strongest known natural fiber.

Hemp plastic is based on cellulose. Cellulose is the most common organic polymer found on earth. Other sources of organic cellulose that is already used to produce bioplastics are wood, corn, potatoes, flax and many more. All plants contain cellulose to the extent that it is possible for it to survive. Hemp plants are roughly 60 to 70 percent cellulose making them a perfect source of cellulose.

Standard plastic and 100% biodegradable plastic can be manufactured from hemp. They are lightweight. There are no known health risks and there is no environment pollution. Depending on type of production, hemp plastics are recyclable, biodegradable, and free of toxins.

The most famous example of hemp use is the hemp-and-sisal (sisal is another stiff natural fiber) cellulose plastic in the making of car doors and fenders. This was in 1941 by Henry Ford who demonstrated that the car was stronger than steel-body car by hitting with a sledgehammer.

Hemp plastic is considered to be five times stiffer and two-and-a-half times stronger than polypropylene plastics. Technological advances have made hemp and cornstarch blow-moldable. With this property, the kind of products that can be manufactured are manifold. Some examples are children’s toys, furniture, bags, phone cases. Being mildew resistant makes it an excellent yarn for towels and bath linens. This can also be used for making fine table linen, clothing and carpet warp.  Hemp plastic resin is also available.

Bioplastics make up a fraction of the market. Bio-based plastics have less environmental impact during production but are not recyclable, nor biodegradable. They take far less time to break down in the environment. They also produce 30 to 80 percent fewer emissions than fossil fuel.

Hemp can be used instead of Styrofoam which is non-degradable (expanded polystyrene considered to be human carcinogenic, causing occupational health hazards, air pollution and contaminates food).

Car manufacturers are on board and are using hemp to make door panels, trunks and dashboards. Hemp is making its presence felt in the high fashion textile industry as well as pulp and paper production.

Other Uses of Hemp

 

Part of the plant

Use

Roots

As organic compost and nutrients;

remedy for arthritis, fibromyalgia or eczema

Stalk

  • Textiles – Clothing, diapers, shoes, denim, handbags
  • Industrial textiles – Canvas, netting, tarps, ropes, carpeting, caulking
  • Paper – Newsprint, printing, cardboard, packaging
  • Building materials – Fiberglass substitute, acrylics, insulation, fiber board

Leaves

Animal bedding, mulch and compost

Seeds

  • Food – Oil, protein powder, food supplements
  • Industrial products – Oil paints, varnishes, printing inks, fuel, solvents, coatings
  • Body care – Soap, shampoo, lotions, balms, cosmetics

 

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