The reality is that hemp plastic is not a new idea. Tom Ford, in 1940, created a car from hemp plastic, which also ran on biofuel. It doesn’t take a genius to see the problems caused by traditional plastics derived from petroleum.
While it may be true that plastic is everywhere and highly useful, it also poses a threat to our planet. Plastic is non-biodegradable, which is the problem with it. It causes land, air, and water pollution.
What if we could still enjoy using plastic without its devastating effect on the planet? Allow me to introduce the solution: HEMP PLASTIC!!!
Hemp plastic is a sustainable option. It is made from cellulose, which is a biodegradable material. The hemp plant has a high cellulose constituent, making it the ideal alternative for bioplastics.
The plastic we are all familiar which is made from petroleum. Hemp bio-plastics, on the other hand, utilize by-products such as the leaves, stem, and seed husks to manufacture hemp plastics.
Although hemp plastic is made from 100% plant, it is still stronger and more flexible than plastic made from petroleum.
The process of making hemp plastic varies depending on the company producing it. However, the most significant step is the extraction of cellulose from the plant. Getting cellulose from the hemp plant involves pulping it with heat, pressure, acid solutions, or water.
Here are the various types of bio-plastic you can make from the extracted cellulose:
Hemp cellulose: is an organic polymer that is majorly used for producing papers and a wide variety of other plastics.
Nanocellulose: it has a form between liquid and gel-like. They have diverse use and can be employed to remove oil spills. In addition, they can be used in making sanitary products.
Cellophane: They are used to manufacture cellophane films, typically used to cover leftover food.
Cellulose nanocrystals: has numerous application, such as barrier films, nanopaper, and more.
Rayon: This is useful in making various fabrics such as curtains, gowns, shorts, etc.
Composite hemp plastics: they can be incorporated into the making of car panels, building materials, boats, etc
One of the first reasons to choose hemp plastic is carbon sequestration, which captures and stores atmospheric carbon dioxide in the soil. Humans need oxygen while plants require carbon dioxide. Planting hemp fixes more carbon dioxide to the soil than any other plant. Therefore, planting more hemp plants helps to combat global warming.
One hectare of hemp can offset accumulated carbon from two cars over two years. Remember that hemp takes only about three to four months to reach maturity.
Plastic from petroleum continues to wreak havoc on the planet for about 500 years after disposal. About 79% of plastics are used in landfills. Hemp plastic, on the other hand, decomposes within 3 to 6 months after disposal. Therefore, with regard to the health of our environment, hemp plastic is a good alternative.
A renewable source is a natural source that will replenish the used portion. The world uses the earth’s petroleum, which can run out at any time. Hemp grows quickly on the farm or indoors in a controlled environment. It improves the soil texture and composition. In addition, it is a natural weed and pest repellent. Hemp plants are ideal to be included in a crop rotation farming system.
Extracting petroleum and processing it to become plastic is not an environmentally friendly process. Plastics from petroleum usually contain numerous chemicals such as BPA. In addition, producing one ounce of PET (polyethylene) also makes one ounce of carbon dioxide, according to EPA.
On the other hand, hemp plastics are free from any toxins or pesticides.
Another significant environmental reason for choosing hemp is its easy recycling. Petroleum-based plastics can remain unchanged for 20 to 500 years in the environment. Hemp plastic is sustainable, which makes it an ideal choice for recycling.
Hemp plastics are lightweight. However, they are about 3.5 times more durable than regular plastics. In addition, they have incredible density, flexibility, and resistance to wear and tear.
Hemp plastic has excellent UV, thermal, and dimensional stability. The majority of hemp plastics have excellent heat-resistant properties. In addition, they are about 2.5 stronger than plastics made from polypropylene.
When dumped into aquatic bodies, petroleum-based plastic can cause pollution and the death of wildlife. In the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, about 13% of all fish have been contaminated with plastic. In addition, about 80% of contaminants in the reef are plastic.
When petroleum-based plastics are exposed to sunlight, they break down into tiny pieces that may be eaten by animals, which may cause their death. Alternatively, we can choose hemp plastic and save the planet.
The use of plastics is inevitable but is it worth destroying the planet? I think many people will agree that it is not worth it. Hemp plastics are an alternative that governments and industries need to embrace.
Boyan Slat created the Ocean Cleanup Project, which is intended to remove plastic from the Great Pacific. So are we just going to keep adding to the problem instead of finding ways to make our planet more habitable?
The world needs to become aware that there is another option, which is easily recycled and bio-based. However, this solution needs to be on a global scale to tip the dynamics of pollution and contamination. Therefore, we need to change our focus to eliminating pollution and recycling.
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