Hemp-based plastic is stronger, more resistant and more durable than traditional petroleum-based plastic
Virtually all scientists who study the climate agree that we must replace our dependence on fossil fuels. Taking into account that with hemp we can manufacture biodegradable plastic and that it is also a plant capable of decontaminating the soil, it is incredible that this complete crop is no longer used.
The modern cannabis industry faces many challenges, one of which and most important is how to maintain sustainability in an exponential growth market. Conceptually and taking into account that the industry develops around the production and sale of a plant, it is logical that sustainability is one of its main objectives. Cannabis comes from the earth. Therefore shouldn’t the industry try to minimize its impact on the earth and the environment?
The reality is that the seeds and the grass itself are sold wrapped in plastic containers. Is hemp the answer to sustainable cannabis packaging? Because one of the main ways in which the industry produces waste and causes serious damage to the environment is through the plastic packaging in which cannabis products are contained. All those little bags and plastic tubes add up. Although it is true that some companies start recycling cannabis containers, many of them end up in landfills. Fortunately, there are already some seed banks that sell their product in elegant bags of hemp fiber.
Hemp barely contains THC, the psychoactive cannabis cannabinoiide. And hemp-based plastic can be superior to traditional petroleum-based plastic. Why not pack cannabis with cannabis? The main reason we abuse plastic is because it is a very cheap and easy to manufacture material. It is the material used to pack cannabis and put it in the hands of consumers. Everything about cannabis comes in plastic containers.
One of the main reasons why there are so many plastic containers in the cannabis industry is related to the strict rules that states require in order to operate in a legal market. Most states have laws that require the container to be childproof and resealable. Also, after buying a cannabis product you may have to go to another bag (potentially plastic) before leaving the dispensary. All that plastic is necessary to simply take cannabis out of the dispensary door. Then we get home and the many consumers store the marijuana in plastic bags.
Although hemp was legal and widely cultivated many decades ago, it was subsequently banned in the US. along with marijuana in the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937. Thanks to the Farm Bill that legalized hemp at the end of last year, many restrictions have been abolished. This fact, promoted by President Trump, attracted farmers, both small and large, to start growing it and the use of hemp bioplastics has increased in recent years. Hemp is biodegradable, renewable, strong and less harmful to the environment than petroleum-based plastic.
Although there are currently no studies that say with total precision how long it takes for petroleum-based plastic to decompose, it is believed that it will take hundreds or even thousands of years, while hemp bioplastics can take only 6 months to decompose. A few days ago I was walking along the beach and I found a container of a well-known brand of yogurt that seemed just thrown away. When I looked at the package, I checked that the expiration date was over 40 years old. And believe me that the appearance was that of a new container.
The question is whether cannabis users care about sustainability and if we are willing to pay a little more money to maintain the environment. Kevin Tubbs, Director of Commercial Development at The Hemp Plastic Company, is convinced that the average cannabis consumer would prefer hemp plastic containers. It cannot meet the demands because there are not enough hemp producers.
His company is growing at high speed by selling hemp plastic polymer. His company currently produces 50 million pounds (22679618 kilos) of hemp plastic per year, which is not much compared to the total worldwide plastic production estimated at more than 300 million tons (136077711000000 kilos). But everything adds up and over time more companies will start manufacturing hemp-based plastic and the result can have a great impact on the environment.
Why does the industry not use hemp? It is true that it seems the most natural option in the cannabis sector. But the reality is that it is almost never used. Why? Because it is more expensive to produce.
But fortunately, some companies are already betting on hemp. The company Sana Packaging produces packaging exclusively for the cannabis industry and only uses hemp products. Because hemp is a new material that businesses and consumers are not accustomed to, part of Sana Packaging’s plan is to educate people about everything related to the hemp plant. Explain how it is obtained and the greatness of using hemp plastic as an alternative to petroleum-based plastic.
Thanks to the approval of the Farm Bill at the end of last year, farmers in the United States are discovering a whole universe of possibilities in relation to hemp. Hemp is being seen as a commercial crop of immense possibilities. Hemp Plastic Company and Sana Packaging have seen everything from commercial producers to family growers who have started growing hemp, as a main crop or as a secondary crop on a farm.
Sana co-founder and CEO Ron Basak-Smith says the industry needs to rethink the whole issue. He also insists that we must consider moving away from an unsustainable system based on the use of finite resources to create products that change this fact of disastrous consequences for the planet.
The key lies in equating the hemp supply with the demand. The bottleneck will be in the production of hemp, which is currently too limited and therefore the product becomes more expensive. We encourage farmers to put some seeds in the soil of their farms.
Currently hemp plastics are more expensive and it is necessary to make them cheaper. One of the most complex aspects for the use of hemp plastic is to secure the supply chain. Because there are so few farmers who grow hemp, it is difficult to rely on a constant source of supply to create plastic.
Can legislators establish sustainability regulations before the industry grows too much and is too late? Lawmakers are trying to figure out what hemp regulation looks like in Colorado, especially now that it’s legal at the federal level. In the end everything is a matter of the economic incentive of each state. While some states have it clear, others do not see it the same way. Some states are investing in hemp while others are not. Perhaps it is Colorado that sees the most value in hemp.
Consumers are very interested in hemp plastics, but it is the stores that have the last word. Obviously consumers are one thing, but stores are really the ones who make the final decision. But there are many reasons to change the plastic model before it is too late for the planet.
Hemp plastic is completely biodegradable. One reason why conventional plastic is so toxic is because of its long service life. Any conventional plastic will take years to decompose. Think of all the petroleum plastic products that end up in landfills every day, at best. Unfortunately, the oceans are absolutely contaminated with plastic. Think of everyday products such as grocery bags, tupperware, buttons, packaging, electronic products and thousands more. Unfortunately, plastic pollution is growing worldwide. However, hemp plastic can be completely biodegradable when made with biodegradable polymers. Unlike conventional plastics, hemp plastic does not pollute the environment.
Hemp plastic takes about 3-6 months to decompose. This is very short time compared to conventional plastics. Hemp plastic can also be recycled indefinitely. Although petroleum-based plastic can also be recycled, the problem is that this type of plastic is full of chemicals, and recycling is a toxic process. Conventional plastics that are recycled filter harmful substances into the environment.
Hemp plastic is not toxic. Conventional plastic is toxic to our health because, among other things, it contains endocrine disruptors. Endocrine disruptors, such as BPA, interfere with the endocrine system (also known as the hormone) in the human body. Once inside the body, endocrine disruptors act like the hormone estrogen. Why is this dangerous? This hormonal imbalance in the body can generate the development of tumors. In fact, endocrine disruptors are related to some birth defects, cancer, learning problems and much more.
The dangers of toxic chemicals in plastic do not end with digestion. Endocrine disruptors can also seep into the soil and groundwater, degenerating the environment and thus our health. On the contrary, hemp plastic is not toxic. Plastic made from hemp does not contain harmful endocrine disruptors such as petroleum-based plastics. And, unlike petroleum-based plastic, it does not release toxins into the air during production. Isn’t it absurd to continue destroying our planet and health when we have a good alternative?
Hemp plastic could help save endangered wildlife. Plastic is polluting the sea at very worrying rates. A study by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization and Imperial College London concluded that 60% of seabirds have plastic in the intestine. By 2050, they expect that number to increase to 99%. But how does this plastic end up in the wildlife agency? When plastic is exposed to sunlight, it breaks down into smaller pieces. These small pieces of plastic end up being ingested by marine fauna. As the plastic disintegrates, it goes down the food chain.
Neither animals nor humans can consume plastic. Ingestion of plastic can cause a number of very harmful effects on health. And worst of all, many of them are still unknown. Hemp plastic is biodegradable and non-toxic. Instead of filling our oceans with lethal petrochemical plastics, we should create sustainable alternatives.
One of the great advantages of hemp plastic is its versatility. In fact, thousands of everyday plastic products could be manufactured with hemp instead of oil. Hemp plastic can be molded in thousands of ways. The uses of hemp plastic include: electronics, containers, toys, cosmetics, bottles, clothing, car and boat parts, furniture and much more. And unlike petrochemical plastics, the manufacture of hemp plastic is ecological and cost effective.
Hemp plastic decreases pollutants emitted into the atmosphere. There is more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere today than at any other time in history during the last 10,000 years. The constant concentration of carbon dioxide is causing warming of the planet’s atmosphere, known as the greenhouse effect. Much of this increase in carbon dioxide is due to the burning of fossil fuels. Conventional plastics are made of fossil fuels such as oil. Consequently, plastic contributes greatly to the increase in CO2 emissions.
In contrast, plastic and hemp products can reduce the greenhouse effect. This happens because hemp absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and then converts it into oxygen. It should also be borne in mind that hemp plastic generates zero toxic by-products. Hemp plastic is a sustainable process: quite the opposite of the toxic manufacturing process of petrochemical plastics.
Something that many people do not know is that hemp plastic is stronger than petroleum-based plastics. Hemp plastic is up to five times stiffer and 3.5 times stronger than polypropylene, one of the most common types of plastic. But besides being more resistant it is much lighter. This makes hemp plastic a star product among other manufacturing materials. In short, hemp plastic is much stronger and much safer than conventional plastic. Hemp plastic is also much more durable and provides strength even though it is very light. These combined features make hemp plastic the smartest option.
Of course, hemp plastic is a renewable resource. From the moment the seed penetrates the soil, the process can be repeated to infinity. In addition hemp enriches its environment. This is due to the root system of this exceptional plant. Hemp is a very hardy plant with deep roots. It is a perfect crop to prevent soil erosion, thus reducing water pollution. Hemp cultivation can be repeated in the same field for years without compromising quality. Even once hemp is transformed into plastic, it remains sustainable. Hemp plastic is 100% biodegradable. Which means it decomposes in a few months. This is just the opposite of what happens with traditional plastics, which need too much time to decompose while they absorb toxins in the process.
No other natural resource has as many capacities as hemp. From the beginning to the end hemp is renewable. While it is not the only answer to our environmental and health problems, it is a very good start.