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Hemp Packaging: Paper & Plastic

April 1, 2021
Hemp Co. Admin

The steady rise in bans on single-use packaging has resulted in a drastic increase in demand for sustainable packaging worldwide.  Businesses and industries alike are pushing hard for new bioplastic options to meet new consumer standards.  When it comes to Hemp packaging, we haven’t seen a whole lot of commercial-scale options yet.  However, being an optimal bioplastic source that is also a sustainable crop means that it probably isn’t too far off!  Not only can it be made into biodegradable packing options, but it also absorbs remarkable amounts of Co2 from the earth’s atmosphere.

Once the plant has been processed into seeds, oils, and clothing, you can often find residual plant matter, which has been coined as ‘Hemp Biomass’.  It has an extremely high cellulose content which makes it optimal for the manufacturing of bioplastics.  Furthermore, Hemp’s bast fibre can be used as a sustainable alternative for making paper, cardboard, and other fibre-based packaging options.  Hemp can produce 4x the amount of the compounds used to make paper than trees can, whilst growing between 10-40x faster.  

Isn’t that something!?

Here are some reasons that Hemp is geared to be a preferred method of sustainable packaging in the future;

  1. Hemp plastic is significantly stronger than normal plastics, which makes it a hardy, safe option.  It’s also much lighter in weight!
  2. Hemp packaging is cheaper to produce than both traditional paper or plastic packaging.  Of course, due to the lack of commercial-scale production, you won’t see this reflected in the current market.
  3. We won’t necessarily need to build new infrastructure to shape the packaging once the raw materials have been made.  We can use existing moulds and machinery to produce everything – all we’ll need to do is substitute Hemp in the mix!
  4. Being a sustainable packaging option means that Hemp plastic can greatly offset the harmful side effects during or after production.  For example, Hemp plastic can decompose in 6-12 months – compared to as long as 1000 years for oil-based plastics!

Did you know that Henry Ford included Hemp in the body of the first car he ever made for Ford?  That’s right; this isn’t a new idea!  However, governments swept it under the rug due to the negative connotations surrounding cannabis.  Paying homage to the past (and the future), BMW, Mercedes Benz, and a range of other car manufacturers are now including Hemp fibre in the panels and shelves of their cars.  

Is there anyone reading this who wouldn’t want a stronger, more durable, sustainable option for their cars?  We doubt it!

Hemp PackagingCardboard and Paper

Making Hemp Cardboard can be accomplished by lining Hemp sheets made with corrugated blanks, just like traditional cardboard.  All it takes is a bit of knowledge in papercraft and the necessary tools or machinery – this is all depending on the scale you’re going for!  In fact, your local box mill should have adequate infrastructure to undertake such a project.  Of course, you’re going to need the Hemp processed into bast fibre first, which seems to be the biggest restriction for this market to move forward at this point.

You could choose to use Hemp Cardboard for just about any purpose that normal types would – it’s just a lot more sustainable!  What’s more is that you can add gloss, UV, or matte coatings to make it all the more suitable for your immediate needs.  

Could Hemp Packaging Soon Be A Reality In Australia?
Our WA Hemp Processing Facility will be able to provide bast fibre for research.

Hemp Packaging – Bioplastics

The world is moving away from single-use plastic water bottles due to climate change, plastic pollution, & micro-plastics that we’re finding in both humans and animals.  And whether the plastic is single-use or multi-use, they’re still unsafe to similar extents.  Purchasing any plastic products encourages the market to supply more through increased demand.  From the point that normal plastics are manufactured to the moment they’re discarded into the environment, they’re causing damage. 

On the other hand, Hemp bioplastic bottles could be made with organically grown Hemp and, as mentioned previously, can decompose within six months.  This could be a great contribution to efforts aiming to fix problems caused by pollution from traditional plastic types!  The simple fact that the process is so clean and sustainable is enough of a reason to make the switch in itself. 

Hemp farming and processing is a cheaper and resource-lighter process than mining and manufacturing regular plastic. As such, it’s anticipated that Hemp bioplastic should decrease in price as soon as there are more commercial options.

Hemp plastic packaging is a magnificent solution to the world’s overuse of oil-based plastics.  They are eco-friendly, sturdier, safer, and weigh a lot less.  This saves on environmental damages, human health issues, and even transport costs!  As bioplastics are the way of the future, it’s only logical to see Hemp as a fix to this problem we’ve found ourselves with.

Conclusion: 

Hemp-based plastic is seeing a great deal of interest, and the use cases are only expanding.  Despite this solution being presented almost 80 years ago, we’ve only started to see the idea come to fruition in modern times.  This could transform the entire packaging industry and not only offer cheaper options but also more sustainable.   We eventually hope to participate in research and development with the opening of our new Hemp Processing facility, right here in Margaret River WA

The biggest question is: Who’s going to scale the production first?

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