Takeaway: Hemp can be considered as ‘one of the most controversial crops’ ever! Hemp has had an interesting journey from it being cultivated and sold in the market freely in the history to its ban in 1937 and now it has made a comeback for good because of the 2018 Farm Bill. In this article, you are about to learn how Hemp is beneficial for the environment as hemp can replace plastic. Plastic Pollution is an issue that can no longer be ignored and it is not an easy task to replace or reduce plastic as we are surrounded by it in today’s world. From a small object like a pen to a gigantic machine like an Airplane everything constitutes the use of plastic. Hence, the utilization of hemp as the replacement of plastic is one of the most significant.
Plastic pollution in the world
Plastic is the most sought after resource. It is used for packaging food packaging, construction, transportation and other industries dependent on storing their products for a longer time. It is a judicial resource that the consumer market depends on heavily.
Think about it. Every product that you have ever purchased was most likely wrapped in plastic that you unwrapped happily and threw in the dustbin. Remember those chocolates that you love buying? All of them are packaged in plastic. Virtually every manufactured product has one or other form of plastic.
The world is consuming plastic at an ever-increasing rate. Broadly the plastic produced can be categorized into three main categories: single-use, continuous-use, and recyclable plastic. Most of the recyclable plastic can only be used once or twice in their lifetime.
With increasing global warming concerns, countries around the world have turned their attention to plastic. It has become a major concern for many countries. People are facing jail time in some countries for using or selling plastic bags. Major countries such as the United States, Canada, European countries and India have taken an oath to eradicate single-use plastic by 2020.
As you can see from the graph above we have a long way to go before we can eradicate conventional plastic totally. More than 90 countries have some kind of plastic ban. Another 36 countries are trying to regulate their plastic use by levies and fees.
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) estimates that up to 5 trillion plastic units are consumed each year by the world at large. Approximately 8 million tons of plastic makes its way to the oceans of the world every year disrupting aquatic life drastically. Discarded plastic bags are breeding ground for diseases such as malaria. Below is a graph that details the life cycle of plastic produced by the world.
As you can see the majority of the plastic produced in the world is single-use and lands in dump yards that stretch for miles. Even recycled plastic has a faster turnaround time to finally be discarded. Recycling only delays rather than avoid final disposal. This calls for the urgent need for biodegradable substitutes of conventional plastic.
Conventional plastic is manufactured using fuel and that adds to the global warming fire. Fuel, as we all know, is the most scarce resource on this planet. With the increasing prices of fuel, plastic production is a double-edged sword that is killing the planet in two ways.
The need of the hour is to figure out plastic substitutes that can effectively feed the ever-increasing plastic demand of the world. Many researchers are already searching for alternatives, the most popular being paper, but the paper is also a judicial resource that needs to be rescued from abuse. Another alternative that has surfaced recently is Hemp plastic.
Ever since the Hemp legalization in the United States, the world has turned its attention to Hemp and the resources that it can give. Apart from CBD, THC and other therapeutic elements, there are a lot of Hemp products being invented every day. Hemp is being used in manufacturing ropes, accessories, concrete, cosmetics, essential oils and plastic. Growing Hemp is legal in many countries around the world.
Hemp plastic pros and cons
Hemp plastic If produced in large scale amounts will be less toxic, chemically independent, and safe for manufacturing in large amounts. Hazardous compounds such as ENE compounds: Toluene, benzene are not produced while manufacturing Hemp plastic. These chemicals have caused life hazards for decades. Hemp plastic is a safe alternative.
Biodegradable Hemp plastic is produced without the use of petroleum-based compounds. Given the effects of petroleum used and manufacturing on global warming, Hemp plastic is a biodegradable option that is independent. It is 100% biodegradable and recyclable. Plastic made from hemp can be recycled completely to the elemental levels where it acts as a necessary nutrient for fertile soil. A first for any recyclable product we use today.
Producing Hemp plastic requires up to 45% less energy than non-renewable plastic. On the other hand Hemp plants are effective carbon dioxide absorbers meaning large plantation of hemp can clean the areas more effectively while producing the required hemp plastic products.
The strength of hemp plastic is also an attraction for companies to use this renewable source. It is lightweight and has a high density to weight ratio qualifying hemp plastic for a lot of heavy-duty uses. It has the potential to be used in Aerospace.
Hemp plastic is five times stuff and twice as strong as polypropylene. It is not subjected to the wear and tear due to screws and molds like glass fiber. It does not pose any health threats that traditional glass fibers do.
Another factor that has been the most important factor for plastic is its flexibility. Hemp plastic is more flexible than conventional plastic making it the most beneficial alternative for the human race.
The only con about Hemp-based plastic is the high cost of producing it. Plastics produced using petroleum compounds are far cheaper than producing hemp plastic. It requires more effort to produce hemp plastic.
With the ever-increasing use of plastic human lives are at stake. There are countries that are facing the global warming wrath of the earth. We have abused our resources without thinking about the consequences. The world needs an alternative. An alternative to pharmaceuticals that do not treat effectively. An alternative to the plastic we use. An alternative to fuel. While Hemp is not the all in one solution to act as a complete substitute the possibilities are endless. Hemp products are a new way to save our planet and the species that live in it. Hemp is the best alternative to a lot of things. Medical or industrial, this medicinal plant has many applications that we are probing continuously. Bringing this straight from the latest updates in the Hemp industry, Marijuana Span hopes this increases your knowledge about Hemp and how it can help. Comment below to let us know how you liked this blog.