Global awareness of plastic pollution has increased considerably over the past few years. The world is beginning to notice the size of its plastic waste problem, and moves to regulate it have begun. The European Union, in March, banned single-use plastic. Other countries such as Australia are considering doing the same. Both consumers and legislators are looking for new measures to reduce plastic use at least.
The United States has also joined in, as, after Hawaii and California, New York is the third state in the country to ban commercial services from offering plastic bags to customers as an environmental protection measure.
While these moves are great news for the planet, some are concerned that this will create a vacuum. People, as you already know, use plastic for many reasons. Not just on an industrial level but on a personal level. The world needs something to replace plastic. “Industrialized hemp can be manufactured into the fabric, paper, medicine, plastic and even a form of concrete.” There are already many movements saying that anything plastic can be made from hemp. “Currently, the amount of hemp plastic products commercially available is somewhat limited, mainly due to the restrictions on growing industrial hemp in most of the world. “Can Hemp Replace Plastic?
Hemp is The Commodity of the Future
The 2018 Farm Bill drastically changed the view on hemp and its business. It has also changed the potential of hemp-based bioplastics as an alternative. This legislation authorized industrial hemp production, opening up product innovation and creating various hemp-based items and materials.
Today, this vision is already becoming a reality. Are you wondering what products can be made with hemp? Best Practices Packaging, an Alaska-based developer of eco-friendly packaging, has announced that it will soon ramp up the production of hemp-based plastics. In contrast, other eco-friendly packaging companies, such as Sana Packaging, already offer a range of hemp bioplastic products.
Hemp-based bioplastics are an alternative with many potential to petroleum-based polymers, which affect the natural environment. Hemp bioplastics are not only biodegradable. But also offer to reduce water and pesticide use compared to other crops while providing higher yields. Applications for household goods, automotive components, and all other hemp bioplastics can play a vital role in reducing plastic pollution on our planet.
What Are The Benefits of Using Hemp-Based Plastics?
Due to the strength and rigidity offered by hemp, the plastic produced from hemp offers unique technical qualities compared to other conventional plastics. In addition to these qualities, hemp fiberglass, for example, costs approximately $60 (USD) per kilogram, while carbon-based fiberglass costs more than $100 (USD) per kilogram.
Hemp plastic acts in a more sustainable and environmentally friendly way than conventional plastics. This is because hemp plastic can reduce the greenhouse effect by canceling the carbon produced by converting it into plastic with its absorption as it grows. As the hemp grows, it absorbs carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere, converting it into oxygen. Once the hemp makes plastic, the CO2 remains in the material, preventing it from being released into the atmosphere. While petroleum plastics generate high CO2 emissions, hemp removes CO2 from the atmosphere, helping combat global warming.
Hemp plastic can also reduce the amount of waste. Conventional plastics remain in the environment and can even indirectly enter the food chain, causing harm to human and animal health.
What Products Can Be Made With Hemp?
Hemp-based bioplastic is nothing new: hemp bioplastics are from shortly after petroleum-based polymers in the first half of the 20th century. Also, some companies are making some of their plastic bottles from hemp already.
Hemp-based bioplastic materials could replace plastics in products and uses. You will find bottles, toys, or even household items made out of hemp-based plastic. Some industries are even using components made out of hemp plastic.
People use hemp to make a fiber-reinforced biocomposite: a polymer matrix that is reinforced with hemp fibers. The result is a product that looks the same but is more durable. You will not notice the difference between fossil fuel-based polymer plastics and fiber-based plastics. To date, the automotive industry has been the sector that has been pushing hemp the most. But this versatile material has potential uses in many sectors.
The Pros & Limitations of Bioplastic
A tremendous positive aspect of hemp plastic is that it takes 3 to 6 months to decompose. It can also be recycled indefinitely, which means there won’t be wasted. Hemp plastic could change the production processes of certain products and their effects on the environment.
Despite hemp-based plastic’s ability to biodegrade quickly, people think it is up to 5 times harder and 2.5 times more reliable than regular plastic. You should know that if certain products last longer, it means less waste. Less waste means less energy used to produce more products, thus saving energy. Hemp plastic is also heat resistant, making it ideal for kitchen-related products.
The plastic we use in our daily lives is made from fossil fuels. Carbon dioxide is released during its production. This causes climate change and contamination of the environment. Do you know how to make plastic hemp? Hemp plastic production is friendly to the environment. It does not take in CO2, and hemp plants filter carbon dioxide, converting it into oxygen. A ton of hemp produced removes about 1.63 tons of carbon dioxide from the air. Deep roots can prevent soil erosion so that farmland can continue to be cultivated.
Hemp plastic is better for human health and the environment. It is contrary to standard plastic; it is not toxic, waterproof, fire retardant, and mildew resistant when above ground. The construction industry could use Hemp-derived plastic as insulation on floors, walls, ceilings, and more. To top it off, it has lasted way more than conventional building materials. As it has a lower carbon footprint than concrete, it can be used in construction and save the environment.
The Bottom Line
Plastic is an essential raw material but also very harmful to our bodies and planet. Hemp plastic could be the solution to the problem. Environmentally friendly alternatives to commonly used raw materials such as plastic or paper are some of the most innovative uses of hemp. Before its prohibition in the United States, hemp was a promising industry that manufactured everything.
Hemp plastic is a biodegradable and affordable alternative to petroleum-based plastics. For nearly two decades, other parts of the world have been using hemp plastic as an alternative. Before the U.S. Marijuana Taxation Act of 1937, hemp plastic was a booming industry. Could it now be an alternative?
Walter was not an engineer even from the first day he stepped at the University of California in Los Angeles. He only had to fulfill his Father's wish to pursue civil engineering. He graduated in 2015, and he started practicing as a writer. His passion was thriving in the hemp industry following the controversies and myths about the plant. Walter E. Russo later embarks on a full-time job in a hemp website, and he now delivers informative content on everything you should know about hemp. His in-depth research and elaborate skills have earned him a reputation as a trusted writer. He enjoys watching football during his leisure hours.