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Five Ways That Industrial Hemp is Good for the Environment

September 01, 2022 5 min read

Five Ways That Industrial Hemp is Good for the Environment

Five Ways That Industrial Hemp is Good for the Environment

The human population is increasing the utilization of available resources for food, clothes, medicine, and habitat, depleting available natural resources to satisfy these needs. Research on multipurpose industrial crops is highly interesting to help meet life requirements without abusing natural resources. Industrial hemp is gaining popularity in research studies as it grows faster and can be utilized in commercial products like textile, paper, medicine, and food. Moreover, its usage helps boost environmental conservation in different areas. Are you familiar with the term hemp or industrial hemp? This article will discuss industrial hemp in detail and the five benefits its uses can achieve to the environment.

What Is Industrial Hemp?

Industrial hemp is an annual cross-pollinating plant with rapid growth and developmental results in significant biomass accumulation. The known uses for industrial hemp are fiber and food. Industrial hemp seed oil is used in cosmetics and functional foods. The different economic products derived from cannabis Sativa are the basis for grouping hemp into four main categories. These are fiber hemp, Oilseed hemp, hemp products for medicinal purposes, and hemp products for the recreational market. Fiber and oil hemp are collectively known as industrial hemp. There are three different oils from industrial hemp. These are cannabidiol (CBD), essential oil, and seed fatty oil. Fiber hemp products have been used for quite a long time. They manufacture fine linens when mixed with other natural fibers. Pidlisnyuk et al. (2021) suggested that fiber hemp is also used in horticultural planting materials, paper, and pulp products, plastic bio-composites, and insulation.

Hemp seed or grain has been used since time immemorial. The products of grain and oilseed hemp include hemp seed, seed flour, seed protein, seed powder, and seed oil, among others. Hemp seed oil is mostly used in various cosmetics, and as it contains a pleasant flavor, it is used in salad dressing, like olive oil. In hemp fibers, there are three different fiber cells in hemp stems. They include primary phloem, secondary phloem, and xylem. The primary fiber contains outer cells that provide long fibers. The secondary phloem has short fibers generated byte cambium from the inner cells. The longer the fibers, the more valuable they are.

Benefits of Industrial Hemp to the Environment

Manufacturing companies and plastic microparticles pollute water, land, and air. Hemp might help this problem as it can integrate into regenerative farming practices. How can hemp products help in everyday activities that will sustain the environment? Here are some examples.

  • Hemp paper is used for a much longer period than wood paper. Paper is made from trees, causing huge deforestation. Forests are a crucial component of the water cycle and have all the important aspects of preventing desertification. Cutting down trees for wood deprives the land of its cover, leaving the soil bare and exposed to wind and rain. This makes the soil vulnerable to being washed away, causing soil erosion. However, hemp has advantages. Hemp plants are harvested after four months, whereas hardwood takes up to 8-12 years. More hemp paper can be produced up to four times more than tree paper. Less pollution is produced than tree paper manufacturing when new hemp paper is made.
  • The textile industry manufactures fabrics, textiles, and ropes that use natural fibers like wool, silk, linen, and artificial fibers. Most of the clothes people wear are made from synthetic fibers. The manufacturing of this causes pollution, and more are hard to recycle. Herrmann et al. (2015) suggested that decomposing nylon takes 20-40 years. Hemp clothing has a minimal impact on the environment. It does not require synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, or GMO seeds. This means no soil, air, or water pollution where the hemp is grown. Parvez et al. (2021) suggested that hemp has low carbon emissions during manufacturing and can capture carbon emissions in the atmosphere, making it much better for the environment than cotton.
  • Building materials have a heavy carbon footprint, therefore, presenting a challenge to the environment. The carbon in buildings comes from the energy-intensive production of cement, steel, aluminum, and insulation materials. Devi et al. (2017) revealed that The products of certain building materials like cement involve chemical processes that release additional greenhouse gases that lead to the depletion of natural resources like sand. When hemp is used as a building material, it is a natural insulation material. It holds on to moisture, is a humidity regulator, and is recyclable. It also requires less processing during its production for building materials, therefore beneficial to the environment.
  • The petroleum industry causes air and water pollution. Hemp can be made into biodiesel by pressing the hemp seed into oil or can be made into ethanol and methanol through the fermented stalk. It is a better choice as it reduces greenhouse gas and is non-toxic.
  • The plastic you use is believed to take over 300 years to decompose. You probably use plastic for grocery bags and bottles, unaware of its environmental impact. It is possible to replace plastic with a hemp-based plastic alternative. This has been achieved by different companies like Coca-Cola that use plastic made from hemp and other plant fibers. This helps reduce exposure to toxic chemicals found in plastic and the amount of plastic that fills different areas of human and animal habitats.

Conclusion

When they hear the word hemp, most people think of marijuana and being high. This article has shed light on the different ways industrial hemp can help boost changes in the environment. Hemp has the potential to reduce water, air, and soil pollution and protect most of our natural resources. According to research, tons of waste are produced yearly, most of which is non-biodegradable. If hemp becomes more accepted and used, the benefits accrued will be more than what we enjoy now.

References

Devi, K. S., Lakshmi, V. V., & Alakanandana, A. (2017). Impacts Of Cement Industry On Environment-An Overview. Asia Pac. J. Res, 1, 156-161.

Herrmann, S., Kahl, T., & Bauhus, J. (2015). Decomposition Dynamics Of Coarse Woody Debris Of Three Important Central European Tree Species. Forest Ecosystems, 2(1), 1-14.

Parvez, A. M., Lewis, J. D., & Afzal, M. T. (2021). Potential Of Industrial Hemp (Cannabis Sativa L.) For Bioenergy Production In Canada: Status, Challenges, And Outlook. Renewable And Sustainable Energy Reviews, 141, 110784.

Pidlisnyuk, V., Erickson, L. E., Wang, D., Zhao, J., Stefanovska, T., & Schlup, J. R. (2021). Miscanthus As Raw Materials For Bio-Based Products. In Phytotechnology With Biomass Production (Pp. 201-215). CRC Press.