How to Reduce Plastic Waste in Hemp Growing – A Complete Guide. Learn about the problems that come with using plastic and what sustainable alternatives are to the problems.
Some worrying facts for you:
Well, now that you know The amount of plastic waste produced by growing hempYou want to reduce the use of plastic in growing hemp. organizations like The Cannabis Foundation Working towards the same goal. More than 500 environmental groups US President Joe Biden has appealed to take practical steps to reduce plastic pollution.
However, how do we do that? Hemp cultivation relies on plastic at every step – from using black plastic mulch to suppress weed growth to PVC pipes for irrigation.
This guide will provide you with solutions. In the next five minutes, find out all about how to do it Reducing the use of plastic in the cultivation of hemp. The article will discuss:
- The use of plastic in the cultivation of cannabis and its consequences
- Sustainable alternatives to plastic to solve the problem
Problem #1: Using black plastic mulch to suppress weed growth
This practice known as the uses of plastic farming Plastic covers to prevent weeds. The black plastic cover prevents sunlight from reaching the ground. Thus, the lack of sunlight prevents the growth of weeds.
This process warms the ground to help the seeds germinate. Moreover, plastic farming enhances crop yield.
While this practice is useful, the use of black plastic mulch poses multiple threats:
- Plastic waste remains in the soil and takes more than 300 years to decompose. Underground plastic It means the groundwater will also contain plastic residue. Thus, you will be drinking water with plastic residue inside. The final result? Researchers Discover Microscopic plastic residue in the placenta of unborn children.
- Burning the black plastic cap releases hundreds of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and carcinogens into the air.
- Removing and disposing of the black plastic cover at the end of the year costs up to $400 per acre.
The solution: natural mulch, horizontal fabrics, and a barren system
Natural mulch uses materials such as straw and compost to cover the lawn. Natural mulch, other than preventing weed growth:
- It degrades over time and adds valuable nutrients to the soil.
- Retains soil moisture.
- It prevents corrosion.
Landscape fabric – made from a “breathable” material such as linen – serves as a Cover to prevent weeds from growing. You can cover the fabric with natural mulch for better results.
- It inhibits weed growth but allows air, water, and nutrients to pass into the soil. This process promotes cannabis growth.
- Lasts up to 20 years. Thus, you will not have to invest in another cover for years.
- It decomposes within two weeks if the lids are buried.
Open Earth System
Farmers plow and pull the soil to low ridges in a barren land system. After placing the hemp plants in these mounds, the growers plow more soil and toss the soil around the base of the plant. Thus, the height of the ridge increases.
The exposed system is useful as follows:
- An open ground system reduces weed density.
- The open ground system enhances the availability of nutrients and water.
- The bare-earth system leads to the germination of deeply buried seeds.
Problem #2: Using plastic pots as growing containers
plastic pots It is popular among farmers as:
- They provide the structure of hemp
- She is strong
- Can be reused for up to 3 seasons
However, plastic pots come with their set of drawbacks as well:
- When hemp roots hit the walls of a plastic pot, the roots rotate and grow in circles. The circular roots suffocate the plant over time. Moreover, circular roots prevent the growth of small root tips. Thus, the plant cannot absorb water and nutrients.
- Plastic containers trap heat during the day and release it at night. Excess heat dehydrates the plant, disrupts the transport of nutrients, and damages the leaves.
- After the pots are decomposed, it takes over 450 years for the pots to decompose.
The solution: air containers and beanbags
Air pots come with several holes or perforated plates that allow air in. Utensils are a great alternative to Controlling plastic waste in hemp cultivation as:
- Utensils are made from recycled fabric, paper or plastic. Thus, you are not adding plastic to the environment.
- Pots promote cannabis growth. When hemp roots hit the air instead of hard plastic, the roots stop growing outward. Instead, the roots focus on fibrous, lateral, and dense root growth. This process helps plants absorb more oxygen, nutrients, and water. Thus, plants grow faster.
- Air pots release excess heat and keep the plant cool.
The beanbags are identical to the plants you put inside the bags. Canvas bags:
- Provide thousands of tiny pores that allow excess water to escape and air to flow through.
- Lasts up to 10 years.
- biodegradable. Thus, you don’t have to worry about fabric residue in the soil.
Problem #3: Using trellis net to improve growth and airflow
- When spread evenly across the tops of plants, provide equal spaces between plants. The process allows for better airflow.
- Moreover, the trellis net helps each plant receive sunlight more evenly. Thus, the process promotes fuller flower growth.
- Provides protection against mold and bud rot.
However, the grid network poses an environmental threat for the following reasons:
Solution: biodegradable mesh
Biodegradable nets are made from natural materials such as jute. Biodegradable netting is a more sustainable option than trellis netting as follows:
- Biodegradable nets degrade within weeks.
- If you want to make composite piles of biodegradable mesh, add fallen leaves and vegetable scraps and you’re all set.
- Biodegradable nets reduce soil erosion.
- Biodegradable nets provide an ideal environment for vegetation re-growth.
- Biodegradable nets are reusable, rollable, and come with non-slip features. Moreover, the net does not release any smelly plastic case.
Problem No. 4: Using PVC pipes for irrigation
Farmers use PVC pipes for field dip irrigation as follows:
- cheap plastic tubes
- PVC pipes are resistant to corrosion, rotting, weathering, shock and chemical deterioration.
- It is easy to install PVC pipe.
However, plastic pipes pose serious threats to the environment:
- Vinyl chloride — one of the ingredients used to make PVC — is a carcinogen, according to a confirmation by the Department of Health and Human Services. Exposure to vinyl chloride increases the risk of infection A rare form of liver cancer in humans.
- PVC production uses about 40% of global chlorine production. Furthermore, the production process releases a toxic by-product organochlorine. Organochlorine exposure can lead to endocrine dysfunction, impaired growth, and birth defects, among other things.
- PVC production releases another toxic byproduct of dioxins. Exposure to dioxins can lead to cancer, immune and reproductive dysfunction, and decreased intelligence, among others.
- The production of plastic pipes also releases toxic lead. Exposure to lead – even in very small doses – can reduce intelligence and cognitive ability and damage brain development.
Two common components of metal tubes are copper and stainless steel. Metal tubes provide an ideal solution for irrigation applications as below:
- Metal tubes are resistant to corrosion and leakage.
- Metal pipes never pollute the water because bacteria cannot grow inside the pipes.
- Metal pipes can withstand temperature extremes – both hot and cold water.
- Metal pipes last for at least 50 years. Thus, you will not have to change pipes for endless seasons of growing hemp.
- Metal pipe materials can be recycled.
Concrete pipes – especially reinforced concrete pipes (RCPs) – are a more sustainable alternative to plastic pipes such as:
- Concrete pipes provide durability with a lifespan of up to 100 years. Thus, you will not have to replace the tubes for life.
- Concrete pipes leave a lighter carbon footprint. Thus, the pipes have a minimal negative impact on the environment.
- Concrete pipes are easy to install.
- Concrete pipes are fire and weather resistant.
- Concrete pipes are an economical alternative to PVC pipes.
The Center for International Environmental Law has asserted that if the hemp industry continues to use plastic on its current growth path, global greenhouse gas emissions will reach 1.34 gigatonnes per year by 2030. This is similar to over 295 500 MW coal plants.
Hence, you must Reducing the use of plastic in the cultivation of hemp. In this article you learned:
- How plastic is used to grow hemp and how does it pollute the environment
- Alternatives you can use to help grow hemp without harming nature
The knowledge will help you make informed decisions.