Hemp has long been known to be a clean, renewable resource. It can be grown with little to no fertilizer and pesticides; in fact, it has natural pesticides. It enriches and heals the soil it is grown in, cleans the air, and reduces pollution. It has some of the longest, strongest natural fibers known to man. Around 50,000 products can me made from hemp.
With landfills taking up more space, there are many who are turning to green/recyclable options. In some cities recycling is mandatory.
Paper made from wood pulp can be recycled. However, it can be recycled maximum of 3 times. Newspaper and office paper is often recycled into toilet paper – but before you start thinking that it is ‘green’ and ‘healthy’, let me share this with you. Toilet paper with recycled papers STILL contain chemicals used in the processing paper – chlorine, ammonia, lye.
After the 3 recycles of paper, it is then generally disposed of, and the chemicals, though the amounts may be small, are still put into the earth. Hemp paper, however, is clean, only needs hydrogen peroxide to bleach it if necessary, and is recyclable up to 8 times. After the recycling processes it can safely be disposed of because 1. there are not large amounts of chemicals in it and 2. it is so clean and would be considered a fertilizer.
Petroleum based plastics can be recycled, but again, they are so chemical intensive and toxic that they could actually be considered pollution. Hemp-based plastics can be recycled over and over again, and like paper, when they have finished their recycles they can be safely disposed of. Again, like hemp paper, hemp plastics will actually enrich the soil because they are biodegradable AND clean.
Petroleum-based plastics are biodegradable, “Now, the bad news: This degradation could be releasing harmful compounds such as bisphenol A (BPA into the ocean, according to research presented at the American Chemical Society meeting…” (discovermagazine.com) Hemp plastics do NOT contain BPA and are healthy for humans AND environment.
In the United States hemp paper and plastics are not part of the mainstream market, but they are continually growing in popularity as we realize the need to be more responsible about using and recycling HEALTHY alternatives, healthy for us AND the earth.
by Becca Wolford, Contributing Writer