Hemp products are growing to be even more popular. The hemp plant has proven itself to be an extremely useful crop for all kinds of industrial needs. One of the most valuable discovered includes Hemp Bioplastic. In this modern world where plastic is a huge source of pollution, it is imperative to find a solution that replaces it. So, can Hemp replace plastic? Can it match the qualities of synthetic plastic and be an eco-friendly solution to all the non-biodegradable waste? Let’s find out more.
How is Hemp Bioplastic Made?
The key ingredient to making Hemp plastic is Cellulose. Yes! Cellulose is in the walls of plants. While it is mostly used in Papermaking industries, it is also vital to plastic production. It can help form cellophane, rayon, and celluloid. These names might sound complicated but are just the different types of plastics, cellulose can help make.
Currently, most of these plastic sub-types are made with non-biodegradable, synthetic material. However, Hemp bioplastic makes use of the glucose chains present in the Cellulose walls.
The cellulose is first dissolved in an alkali solution. Then it is put through a Sulphuric acid bath. This process makes a cellophane film. If producers choose to make rayon, then they put the film through a spinneret.
All Hemp plastic contains at least 65% – 70% cellulose content. The cellulose found in Hemp can also be used to create other different kinds of plastic. It can form a kind of a pseudoplastic that mimics all the properties of your average plastic. The major difference is among the different production processes and materials that are much safer for the environment.
Ways Hemp Plastic can change the world
With global warming on the rise, scientists are looking for eco-friendly solutions that can help solve the problem of our polluted water bodies, land, and air. Plastic is one of the major epidemics that humanity faces. Your average synthetic plastic is non-biodegradable. That means that as time passes, it is unlikely that this material degrades with nature.
An average plastic bottle has a shelf life that will help it survive hundreds of years. This is why most of our seas face rampant pollution; with plastic bags, bottles, and other kinds of packaging materials. With the introduction of this Hemp bioplastic, that classifies as a biodegradable substance, can Hemp replace plastic altogether?
Here are some of the features that make Hemp the ideal solution
It is biodegradable
Hemp plastic is biodegradable which is perhaps one of the major reasons it has the upper hand over synthetic plastic. It won’t take years to decompose and will not contribute to permanent pollution. Hemp plastic is safe for the environment and can degrade along with other organic materials.
It is nontoxic
One of the major concerns with average plastic production in the toxins involved within its manufacturing process. Most plastic components contain endocrine disruptors. That basically means that it has toxins that can disrupt the hormonal cycle inside of humans.
One of the major ingredients that were recently banned for its health hazards is BPA. Over time exposure to such compounds can lead to cancers, tumors, birth defects, and problems with infertility. On the other hand, Hemp plastic is made with the plant. It has no toxins in it. Hemp bioplastic is safe as Tupperware, packaging, and other processes.
It has many uses!
Hemp plastic is extraordinary since it has thousands of uses. Currently, the car manufacturing industry is using it in their Car bodies. Henry Ford made the first ‘hemp car’ that that had 10% hemp plastic, all the way back in 1941. The car had ten times more strength than an average metal body.
He stated ‘Why use up the forests which were centuries in the making and the mines which required ages to lay down if we can get the equivalent of forest and mineral products in the annual growth of the hemp fields’
This goes to show that this plastic is not just good for the environment but as durable and long-lasting as your average synthetic plastic. Here are some of the different uses that hemp plastic is ideal for:
- Packaging material
- Electronic components
- Auto repair parts
Hemp production is environmentally friendly
Growing Hemp is beneficial for the environment. While most crops release a lot of pesticides and insecticides into the soil and water bodies. Hemp does not do that at all. It is a fast-growing crop that requires no added chemicals like insecticides or pesticides. Not only does it grow fast, but it can also grow without needing too much water.
It can survive in an arid climate and does not require a fallow period. This is mainly because hemp also replaces the nutrients in the soil once it undergoes cultivation. This shows that it is an all-around crop, from seed to shelf that only gives us benefits! While the world’s eyes were closed to this Green Gold, it is never too late to start.
Hemp is also a renewable source of production. It can grow in the same field without jeopardizing the quality of soil and its fertility. Moreover, it prevents soil erosion and water logging.
Can Hemp replace plastic?
It is true that Hemp plastic is the solution to our environmental needs. However, industry wise can Hemp replace plastic altogether? The process will be a long and hard one. There are mega industrialists that capitalize on the world’s need for synthetic plastic. It will be difficult to dethrone them but not impossible.
As the need for environmental protection grows more urgent and population rises demand more plastic products, the changes are already present. Many companies are turning towards Hemp Plastic. It may not be as cheap; however, the prices are to drop even more.
After the Farm bill in 2018, the legalization of Industrial Hemp has boosted Hemp research and development. Since laws and regulations support it more, it is easier to cultivate and process Hemp like other raw materials. Mass production always leads to a drop in costs, and in general, there are new developments in the Hemp industry that make its production easier and affordable.