Why the world needs hemp plastic?
Hemp plastic is increasingly becoming a viable option as an eco-friendly alternative to carbon-based plastic. Not only is this bioplastic sourced from safe and sustainable hemp plants, but it is also typically both biodegradable and recyclable.
Basically… we have 6.3 BILLION TONS of this stuff lying around our planet. And, did I forget to mention that plastic takes over 400 years to decompose?
Long story short―plastic is an astronomical problem, and the impact it has on our planet is so massive that we can’t even comprehend it.
So what can we do about it?
While it might be impossible to get rid of the existing plastic on our planet, we can be proactive against this problem by using biodegradable alternatives to plastic and urging others to do the same.
While it may come as a surprise, the fiber inside hemp can be used to produce a plastic alternative that offers the same capabilities of synthetic plastic and it’s fully biodegradable.
Many eco-conscious brands and companies have already started using hemp plastics in their products, and with global brands like Coca Cola experimenting with plant-based plastic alternatives, hemp plastic might just be the plastic of the future.
Hemp Plastic Is Nothing New
Hemp plastics are a return to the innovations of the old days, after all, hemp has been around for thousands of years as a building material. Even America consumed roughly 3000 tons of hemp a year before the prohibition era, which started in the early 20th century.
Durable rope, cloth, industrial building materials and more were all made from hemp. The word canvas stems from the word cannabis because hemp was the most common material used for canvas sails in the past. Up until the 1930’s, hemp was already in use in products such as a cellophane film, and a sort of compostable styrofoam.
Henry Ford famously designed and built a car almost entirely made out of hemp plastic in the 1940’s. There is even a rumor he wished to fuel it from ethanol eventually. Ford's finished vehicle only relied on metal for the frame. It was therefore over 1,000 pounds lighter than a comparable model and the hemp plastic paneling was far more resistant to damage.
The future of hemp plastics
According to Canopy Corporation, the future of hemp plastic is bright. Automotive companies across Europe are moving away from petroleum-based plastics entirely for the dashboards, paneling and other design touches in new models. The sheer number of parts molded from hemp plastics demonstrates its usability as a material.
The benefits of hemp plastics far outweigh their petroleum-based counterparts. For example, its estimated that hemp fiberglass costs only .50 to .70 cents per pound, in comparison to upward of 5 dollars per pound for carbon-based fiberglass. On top of this, hemp products are continually shown to be more durable in accidents and are always much lighter than a metal equivalent.
Hemp plastics, alongside a host of other biodegradable plastic alternatives, are on the rise. It’s entirely feasible that in the very near future, all plastics will come from a sustainable, biodegradable resource. Currently, hemp plastic is used to make speaker systems, guitar picks, 3D printer filaments, and thousands of other items.