Can Hemp Replace Plastic?
Researchers from the University of Tasmania and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds in the UK made a shocking discovery. They found 38 million pieces of plastic waste on Henderson Island. It is an uninhabited island in the South Pacific.
Sadly, this isn’t a unique occurrence. Jennifer Lavers, of the University of Tasmania, says she sees remote beaches littered with plastic and garbage regularly. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch comprises 1.9 million microplastics per square mile! These are tiny plastic fragments that endanger marine life.
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Unlike conventional plastics, plastic made from hemp doesn’t contribute to permanent pollution. Meanwhile, biodegradable hemp plastic can save the environment from toxins when made with biodegradable polymers.
In the right environment, hemp plastic takes around 3-6 months to decompose. This is astonishing in comparison to conventional plastics. Hemp-based plastics can also be recycled indefinitely. While petroleum-based plastic can be recycled, because this type of plastic is chemical-laden, it is a toxic process. Conventional plastics that are recycled still leak harmful substances into the environment such as BPA.
This hormonal imbalance in the body can stimulate the development of tumors. In fact, endocrine disruptors are linked to birth defects, cancer, learning disabilities, and more.
The dangers of toxic chemicals from plastic don’t end with digestion. Endocrine disruptors can also leach into the soil and groundwater, devastating the natural environment and our health.
Yet, hemp-based plastic is non-toxic. Plastic manufactured from hemp doesn’t contain harmful endocrine disruptors like petroleum-based plastics. Nor does it release toxins into the air during production.
Hemp plastic is a renewable resource and From the moment the seed enters the soil; hemp enriches its environment.
Hemp is a sturdy plant with deep roots. As such, hemp helps prevent soil erosion, thereby reducing water pollution. Hemp can also be cultivated in the same soil for years without jeopardizing quality.
Even once hemp is manufactured into plastic, it continues to be sustainable. These plastics are 100% biodegradable. This means that under the right conditions it will decompose within a few months. (Unlike traditional plastics that take an indefinite amount of time while leeching toxins in the process.)
Conventional plastics are not worth the risk. The alternative is right in front of us.
No other natural resource offers the capabilities of hemp. Start to finish hemp is renewable. While hemp certainly isn’t the only answer to our environmental and health concerns, it’s a start.