Earth Day 2016: America is closer this year than ever before to unlocking the safety hemp brings to our environment

by John “Harts” Hartsell

Construction materials, paper, milk, food products, textiles, furniture, fuel, plastic – the list of hemp products that are much safer for our environment goes on and on…

Here are just three examples to consider on Earth Day 2016:

Hemp makes safer plastic:
Conventional plastic is not biodegradable. This means our landfills will grow and grow. Plastic materials are based on a finite resource that will not be available to future generations. Plastic has many uses, from packaging of food and industrial products, to insides of cars, casings of electronic items, storage bottles, containers and a myriad of other products and industries.

Hemp Plastics can be five times stiffer and 2.5 times stronger than polypropylene. Its recoverable component comes from these natural plants and can occupy over half of its weight – up to 80 percent. All these features make it suitable for the production of durable products.

Hemp Makes Safer Fuel

In this day of oil wars, peak oil (and the resulting soaring prices), climate change and oil spills – like the one in the gulf by BP – it’s more important than ever to promote sustainable alternatives such as hemp ethanol. Hemp turns out to be the most cost-efficient, and valuable, of all the fuel crops and can be grown on a scale that could fuel the world.

Hemp biodiesel can be made from domestically produced, renewable oilseed crops such as hemp. With over 30 million successful U.S. road miles hemp biodiesel could be the answer to our cry for renewable fuel sources. Learning more about renewable fuels does not mean we should not cut back on consumption but does help address the environmental effects of our choices.

Hemp is Safer Than Cotton

While cotton requires less energy to grow and process than its competitors, it requires a lot of land. For instance, cotton needs approximately twice as much land as hemp per ton of finished textile. Cotton is the big loser, once again, when it comes to irrigation. The cotton plant needs about 50 percent more water per season than hemp, which can grow with little irrigation. And, when you add processing into the equation, cotton uses more than four times as much water as hemp.

Although hemp requires slightly more energy than cotton, the vast difference in land and water use makes hemp safer for our environment.

Makes you wonder why there is such an intense pushback on industrial hemp…

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