Hemp bioplastics will change the way we live. We analyze its sustainability.
Synthetic polymer use is widespread, from ubiquitous water bottles to aircraft manufacturing. DuPont™ Tedlar is used in the Phoenix Mars Lander, and DuPont™ Vespel is used in the satellite industry.
But plastic waste is a serious problem. Each year, about 8 million tons of plastic find their way into the oceans. Many tons of plastic are dumped into the ocean every minute.
In an age of increased climate awareness, this is unacceptable.
The use of hemp elastomers is set to usher in a new era.
What are hemp plastics made of?
The hemp plant contains a lot of cellulose in the stem.
By processing, this can be easily converted into bioplastics.
What is the feature? It is a vegetable product, not an oil based product.
While regular plastic takes many centuries to degrade, hemp plastic can degrade within a few months.
The idea is not new. As early as the 1940s, legendary automaker Henry Ford created a bioplastic car from hemp.
In the past decade, cannabis has made a strong comeback. Hemp clothes were the first to catch our eye. Followed by hemp seeds as a dietary supplement. Now the world is witnessing the transformative power of hemp plastic.
The big question is whether they have side effects or can be harmful in any way.
What makes hemp plastic sustainable?
We analyze the reasons why bioplastic hemp Continuous.
- clean manufacturing
Traditionally, for the past eight decades, we’ve made plastics from petroleum. It is largely a by-product of oil refining. This is why it is cheap and readily available.
The process of refining crude oil is far from ideal. The refining industry is the third largest producer of greenhouse gases (After transportation and coal-based power plants).
Compared to this mess, manufacturing hemp plastic is quite clean. All that is necessary is to extract the cellulose from the dried stem.
This is easily achieved through old methods without harming the environment.
This is a huge plus point.
Landfills cannot hold any more plastic. The oceans are suffering from a deluge of waste. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch covers 1.6 million square kilometres, roughly one-sixth the area of Europe.
Hemp plastic degrades very quickly. In six months at the most, the price of buried bioplastics had completely changed to compost.
Basically, this means that we can reuse landfills. Either the manure is used for agricultural purposes or we use the land for housing, etc.
Toluene, benzene, and similar chemicals produced by refineries are carcinogens. Constant attachment to them may lead to cancer. These are health risks that many workers in the oil industry are exposed to.
If these chemicals are ingested, they can cause death.
The use of hemp plastic does not pose such risks. After all, farming has been our profession for thousands of years without any side effects.
Hemp cultivation is environmentally friendly
This is of equal importance. Hemp plastic stems from hemp stalks. Unless the farming is clean and green, in no way can hemp bioplastics be described as sustainable.
- It grows on any soil
The cannabis plant can grow on any type of soil except cold weather (Northern Europe) or desert conditions (Middle East).
There are vast, barren expanses in every country. Arizona, for example, is experiencing drought. Farmers and the local economy can benefit from a cash crop like hemp that is easy to grow on any type of soil.
- Hemp has many uses
Hemp plastic isn’t the only product from the stem. Hemp textiles are in fashion. Hemp paper is on its way to the market.
This variety is good news for farmers. You never have to worry if they are going to produce something that has a saturated market.
- Less reliance on pesticides
Random spraying of pesticides is dangerous.
Dangerous chemicals seep into groundwater. They travel through the subsoil level to the nearest river and take deadly concoctions downstream.
What could be more dangerous?
The cannabis plant needs very little pesticide.
The strong smell drives them away.
Compare that to cotton, which grows on 2.5% of the agricultural land surface but uses 16% of all pesticides.
- Needs less fertilizer
Plants consume a lot of nutrients from the soil. This is why the regular application of synthetic fertilizers is essential.
What happens to her? It seeps into groundwater and ends up in our bodies.
Fertilizers are expensive and increase the cost of production.
Hemp plants need a fraction of the fertilizer that other crops require. They have long roots that penetrate several feet into the soil.
Extracting nutrients from deep within the earth does not deplete the topsoil.
- Prevents soil erosion
Cannabis plants are tall, usually 6 to 9 feet in height. They grow close together like sugar cane.
Crop density is important, as more can be produced per acre.
Another advantage is that the roots of many plants tightly bind the soil. Even after harvest, the roots remain and protect the soil from erosion.
- growing fast
Hemp grows quickly. In less than 5 months, the crop can be harvested.
It is easier to alternate between hemp and winter crops. Farmers can recoup their investment in as little as six months.
Moreover, every ton of hemp captures 1.6 tons of carbon dioxide2 From the air. It cleans the air and soil and is excellent for bioremediation.
Are there any downsides to hemp plastic?
Not right. The only potential problem is the lack of supply.
For many years, farmers believed that sugarcane and cotton were the only cash crops.
Cannabis has recently entered the picture. In fact, it hasn’t even been four years since farming became legal in the United States.
As more growers know how easy it is to grow hemp, the supply bottleneck will be greatly eased.
What does the future hold?
Hemp bioplastics are here to stay. Conventional plastic is on its way out.
Bioplastics are excellent for manufacturing. It can be perfectly used in injection moulds.
Many car companies are actively researching what role hemp plastics could play in future designs.
Hemp is approximately 80% cellulose and the plastic it is made from is ideal for automobiles. It is 3.5 times stronger than traditional plastic, which is important for safety and durability.
This is good for publicity but expect a wider adoption of cannabis soon as companies focus on making their products as environmentally friendly as possible.
Polylactic acid or PLA from hemp is used in many industries, such as medicinal packaging. The next step is to replace single-use plastics such as food packaging and bottles with appropriate hemp bioplastics.
The emergence of bioplastics from hemp has not had an effect due to supply restrictions. This does not mean that they do not make waves.