The paper made from hemp is a great alternative to conventional wood paper. A better renewable source for the world’s paper supply would be hemp, as opposed to its rapidly diminishing population of trees.
History shows that the very first paper in history was partly hemp, and hemp as a plant has higher cellulose and lower lignin content, so it is more suitable for papermaking. Even though hemp can be produced more quickly than trees, hemp paper offers even more environmental benefits than paper made from trees.
In the meantime, we cannot replace paper overnight, seeing as there is a massive demand for the product. In the long run (of the hemp plant), there are not enough sources to replace the use of trees in papermaking.
The hemp paper needed for various uses such as desktop printer paper is still being developed in part due to the suppression of hemp cultivation and misinformation surrounding hemp.
The good news is that some great companies are currently using hemp paper in a variety of ways, from the business card to packaging, substitute for cardboard and plastic, to make it a part of their product line.
Hemp Paper: Why is it better?
Fibers of the hemp plant (known as long bast or short bast fiber) are used to make hemp paper. Fiber paper is generally thin, tough, rough, and crumbly. While pulp-based paper is not as strong as long-bast paper, it is easier to make, softer, and more attractive for daily use.
Paper manufacturers choose hemp over wood as a primary raw material for this purpose since hemp’s composition is similar to wood. The quality of hemp pulp is higher than that of wood pulp, which is why it is generally viewed as better.
The industrial use of hemp in the 1800s was widespread, but the production and trade of hemp came to a halt in the early 1900s.
Hemp Paper’s Benefits
- It is estimated that an acre of hemp can generate more paper per decade than about 4-10 acres of forest.
- A major ingredient in paper, cellulose, is found in hemp at a higher concentration than in wood.
- The lignin content of hemp is lower than that of wood. In contrast, wood has 20-35% lignin, whereas hemp has 5-24%. Since the pulp must be cleaned of lignin to become paper, this is a major plus.
- It is possible to reduce deforestation by using hemp paper widely.
- Plants grow from 40 – 80 years depending on the species, while hemp stalks grow in four months.
- To remove the remaining 70% of cellulose from trees, toxic chemicals are used to dissolve the remaining 30%. The cellulose content of hemp can reach up to 85%.
- A hemp paper lasts longer than tree paper. Tree paper yellows, cracks, and deteriorates more quickly than hemp paper.
Hemp Paper is a Boon for Mother Nature!
Deforestation is a real issue, and should be addressed, regardless of whether you are Greta Thunberg or not:
- Endangerment of Species: Millions of species on this planet lose their habitat when forests are cut down. 70% to 80% of everything that lives on earth lives in forests. Each year, thousands of species are at risk of extinction due to habitat loss and poaching.
- Global Warming: Forest loss will accelerate climate change. As they remove carbon dioxide and return oxygen to the atmosphere, forests are essential to conserving the soil. Keeping the soil moist and returning water vapor to the atmosphere are also benefits of forests. Due to the current rate of deforestation, desertification will become commonplace, causing famine, displacement, extinction of large species, etc.
- The disappearance of Mature Forests: Our annual forest deforestation is the equivalent of removing the size of Panama each year, according to National Geographic. It is estimated that the mature forests in North America have been lost by 97% since the European settlers arrived in the 17th century. Unless drastic measures are taken, rain forests will be extinct in 100 years.
Some Last Words!
The reasons we need to stop deforestation are not only limited to these few, there are at least 7 billion reasons. Although this task is hard if all of us do something we can make a significant difference. It is the biggest failure of our generation to sit on our hands and hope that someone will solve the problem for us.
Take part in the organic revolution, install hemp paper, create a sustainable environment for our children, and join us in building a better future for them.