According to the United Nations, by the year 2050, there will be more plastic (by weight) than fish in the oceans. If this estimation doesn’t make you concerned about the environment, then we are not sure what else will. A patch of plastic and sludge the size of Texas is already floating in the Pacific Ocean, killing ‘innocent’ marine life in enormous numbers.
While Hemp can’t replace the entire range of plastic, it’s high time that it starts acting at least as a substitute to single-use products like plastic straws.
Hemp Plastic is biodegradable
Of course, the entire essence of replacing conventional plastics with hemp lies in the biodegradable nature of the latter. Traditional plastics — made with oil and other harmful additives — take centuries to break down; while hemp plastics can degrade in 3-6 months. As stated earlier, by replacing just plastic straws with hemp straws (globally) we can take a small-yet-significant step in making a transition towards a better world.
Hemp is per se a great raw material for plastic
Cellulose is one of the most integral components of plastic. Thus, it is a standard practice to choose materials with high cellulose when you are looking for the ideal choice for your good-quality plastic.
Cellulose can primarily be derived from cotton, wood, and hemp. While wood contains nearly 40% of cellulose, cotton may boast as high as 90% of the same. Looking at this figure, you may be thinking that cotton should be the ideal choice then. Isn’t it?
That’s not the case though. Cotton is indeed high in cellulose, but it takes 50% more water to cultivate and 4 times as much water to process, reports GreenEntrepreneur. So keeping in mind the environmental impact, cotton isn’t a decent enough raw material for plastic.
Hemp, on the other hand, possesses roughly 65%-75% cellulose and doesn’t demand the same requirements as cotton. Therefore, hemp is a great raw material for plastic.
No requirement for Fracking
Forbes states that the majority of plastics in use today are made from fossil fuels through a process named fracking (Hydraulic Fracturing). In this process, deep rock formations containing natural gases and petroleum are ‘fractured’ with high-pressure liquids.
None of the companies may confirm this fact but fracking can very well pollute the air, water, ground soil with numerous toxins. A typical example of this can be seen in the documentary Gasland, where a man sets his water tap on fire by just holding a lighter next to the faucet.