Despite the fact that we are living in a digital age, the most digital our world has ever been, our paper consumption has grown in the last 2 decades by 126%. Each year, approximately 208 million tons of paper are used globally. Many of these products of paper are single use and after, they are thrown away.
So, is there a more environmentally friendly way of making paper that does not involve cutting down billions of trees every year? Yes, paper made from hemp.
In early American history, hemp paper was commonly used. However, the legal restrictions that have been imposed on the cultivation of hemp have made it hard for the paper industry to dive into this sector. Hemp activists are however not letting the matter rest as they continue educating the nation on the various ways that hemp paper could help in shifting our current environmental crisis into a more sustainable future.
Here are a few reasons why everyone should switch to hemp paper.
- Hemp is a Renewable Resource
Hemp is a highly renewable paper source. This does not mean trees aren’t renewable, they are. Replacing a tree that has been cut down takes between 20-80 years while hemp plants can be planted and harvested in 4 months. Switching to hemp paper produces more paper for the amount of land being used to grow the hemp plants and also saves our forests from more deforestation.
- Hemp Helps Purify the Soil
Hemp improves the soil it grows in. It does this through pulling the toxic materials out of the soil using its roots, a process referred to as phytoremediation.
Hemp is so good at this that it has been used around Chernobyl to help clean up radioactive contaminants, remnants of the famous nuclear explosion. The plant has also been used to remove dioxins in the soil in Italy, which is ironic since dioxins are the toxic chemicals that are used to bleach wood in order to make paper.
- Hemp Does Not Require Toxic Compounds to Make Paper
When making paper using wood, dioxins and chlorine is used to whiten the paper. These chemicals are poisonous and can pollute waterways.
On the other hand, hemp is whitened using hydrogen peroxide, which does not poison waterways like dioxins, making it the more environmentally-friendly option.
- Hemp is Both Stronger and Longer Lasting
Hemp creates paper that is more durable and much stronger in comparison to paper from wood. Paper from wood also yellows and decomposes quickly while hemp, which is one of the strongest natural fibers in the world, does not yellow or decompose with age.
- Hemp can be Recycled More Times than Wood Paper
Recycling makes a huge difference in everything. While paper from wood can only be recycled 3 times before it becomes unusable, hemp paper can be recycled up to 8 times.
Despite these advantages, legal restrictions and having only 23 paper mills globally that can make hemp paper makes hemp paper expensive and also difficult to find.
With an increase in demand though, this may change. When buying paper products, ask for hemp versions, from packaging to printer paper to rolling papers. A small step by many in one direction may influence a huge change in the world, so shop hemp. That would answer the wish of cannabis companies like Pac Roots Cannabis Corp. (CSE: PACR) who firmly believe that different forms of cannabis aren’t only good for the economy, they are also outstandingly good for the environment.
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