Earth Day is the perfect time to bring awareness to the many ways hemp can help to save the environment. As a renewable, raw material, hemp can be incorporated into many products, making them more eco-friendly. Even the hemp flowers and seeds are used, leaving nothing to waste. With so many great ways to use hemp, it’s no wonder this magical cannabis cousin has the potential to save the world.
Hemp has been used for thousands of years to create everything from ropes to oils to paper. It’s a fast-growing, sustainable crop that has gotten a misunderstood reputation, due to the strict drug and cultivation laws surrounding cannabis. While hemp is derived from the same family of plants as marijuana, it comes from cannabis sativa L strains that contain less than 1% THC, meaning they carry no psychoactive properties. While closely related to the herb we all know and love, genetic differences allow the use of hemp to span much wider than delivering a high.
Deforestation is one of the hardest things our environment endures, causing animals and plants to lose their habitats and waterways to become polluted. Every hemp plant grown saves 12 trees from being cut down, and can be used to make every product, including timber and paper, that trees are responsible for; all while using 1/7th the pollution of standard manufacturing.
Unlike the fossil fuels we have come to rely on, hemp is a 100% sustainable resource and delivers almost no harmful pollutants into the atmosphere. Producing yearly hemp crops could ease dependencies on the rapidly decreasing fossil fuel supply and help to clean the air.
3. Non-toxic products
Hemp fabrics are 100% non-toxic. While many textiles are treated with chemical compounds, to extend their life and preserve the material, hemp is already extremely strong and durable. It also keeps it shape and regulates heat well, making it an ideal clothing fabric.
4. Best biofuel
Better even than ethanol, hemp could be used to produce cleaner, more efficient biofuels. One acre of hemp could produce 300 gallons of oil; the operative word here is “could.” Governments around the globe have worked tirelessly to stop hemp biofuels from being mass produced. I can only image it’s because the crude oil industry would suffer a devastating blow, right along with many politicians bank accounts.
5. Food source
Seeds from the hemp plant can be made into butter, milk, flour and oil, creating endless food sources. In many countries, the seeds are roasted and eaten whole; they’re said to have a nutty taste. Often called a super food, these tiny seeds are packed with vitamins and nutrients, making hemp especially important to under-developed nations.
6. Natural energy
Even in extreme heat, with a little water, hemp plants can thrive and produce. They convert energy from the sun into cellulose, used to create everything from biofuels to tanning lotions, faster than any other plant, with four times the potency.
7. Clean soil
Hemp has proven to remove not only toxins but also radioactive materials and metals from contaminated soil. Planted around the famous nuclear disaster site Chernobyl, scientist found the hemp conducted phytoremediation, the process of removing the chemicals from soil, better than any other plant.
8. Pests, aside
Pesticides can leak into the soil and leak into the water, causing major contamination issues. These pollutants not only hurt the environment, but they can also affect the physical health of anyone who might ingest them. Hemp requires no harmful pesticides, as its’ chemical makeup is naturally resistant to pests.
9. Green jobs
Steady cultivation of hemp, and the manufacturing of hemp products would lead to many new, green jobs for our economy. These new positions would help to lessen the environmental impact of other non-green industries.
10. Biodegradable plastic
All those harmful plastic grocery bags and six-pack holders, not to mention bottles, floating out in the ocean could be a non-issue if they were made from biodegradable hemp plastic. Unlike other plastics, hemp plastic can be used to reinforce other materials or on its own, making it 100% biodegradable.
With so many uses for hemp, it’s time we stop ignoring Mother Nature’s needs and demand cleaner, greener production of goods, from a renewable resource. This Earth Day, do your part to help clean up the community and make our environment a little more livable.
What other ways can hemp help save the environment? Let us know on social media or in the comments below.