Hemp Plastic Can Save The Planet In 10 Big Ways

A single hemp leaf is off center on a black surface, lit up so it has a slight shadow.

I don’t know about you, but the news around our planet can be, well, a complete bummer. But! We can’t give up yet! We must fight! We must…okay, I’ll stop pretending I’m at a rally now. Anyway, if the news is getting you down, I have something that will cheer you up—hemp plastic!

If it seems like you can make anything from hemp, well, you kind of can! You can drink it up in hemp tea, wear it in hemp underwear, and scrub it on your body in hemp soap. And now, you can use it as a substitute for traditional plastic!

Considering our oceans are full of plastic, and so are our bodies, well, hemp plastic may be just what we need. Read on for how hemp plastic can save the planet in ten big ways.

WHAT IS HEMP PLASTIC?

A pile of blue plastic beads is zoomed in on to see the detail and slight color variations, like teal, purple, and silver.

Hemp plastic is a bioplastic made from industrial hemp (and no, if you’re wondering what is hemp, it’s not the same as marijuana!). Bioplastics are plastic created from sustainable material, aka the cellulose of hemp plants. Hemp plastics can be made from the leaves, stems, and even seed husks from industrial hemp plants.

Now, what are the implications of hemp plastic? Can it really save the planet? Read on and find out for yourself.

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

10 WAYS HEMP PLASTIC CAN SAVE THE PLANET

A fake fish skeleton is lying in the sand on a beach, made out of plastic trash found on the beach, including a hemp bottle

1. HEMP PLASTIC IS MORE ENERGY EFFICIENT THAN CONVENTIONAL PLASTIC

Standard plastic is made from fossil fuels, which results in carbon dioxide being released during production. This means that simply making plastic is causing climate change—which doesn’t even cover the rest of the life cycle of plastic (more on this later). But! Hemp plastic uses up to 45% less energy than plastic derived from fossil-fuel, making it more energy efficient.

2. HEMP PLASTIC IS SUPER STRONG

A person is silhouetted against an orange sunset and yellow sun, holding their first in the air to convey power.

Is hemp stronger than steel? Yes—and, when it comes to plastic, plastic made from hemp is stronger and more durable than traditional plastic. In fact, hemp plastic is up to 3.5 times stronger than polypropylene, the most common type of plastic. This makes a very durable plastic, that also biodegrades (more on that later!).

3. HEMP PLASTIC IS LIGHTER

And although it is so much stronger, it’s also lighter! For example, Henry Ford’s hemp car, which only used metal for the frame, was around 1,000 pounds lighter than a comparable model. Hemp plastic products are around 30% lighter than their standard plastic counterparts. Why does this matter? Lighter plastic means that the production, transportation and delivery of said plastic will be cheaper and faster, which is good news for our pockets and the planet.

4. HEMP PLASTIC IS BIODEGRADABLE

Yep, hemp plastic is both biodegradable and compostable under the right conditions, which is a huge win, since our oceans are being choked by plastic. Rather than taking 500 years like a lot of plastic out there today (!!), hemp plastic decomposes in three to six months. We’ve all been to the beach recently—or seen pictures of them in these pandemic times—and so can attest that petroleum-based plastic is decidedly NOT biodegradable. So go ahead and sub that plastic water bottle with a hemp bottle!

5. HEMP PLASTIC IS BETTER FOR ENDANGERED ANIMALS

A turtle swims in clear blue water, right above a sandy floor and the beginnings of a coral reef.

Scientists estimate that 2/3rds of all fish species have ingested plastic, and don’t see this number improving any time soon. Conventional plastic has contributed to the death of millions of wildlife all over the world, and various health problems in this wildlife, too. Since standard plastic does break down—into tiny pieces, such as microplastics—it can easily be ingested, and therefore passes up the food chain, eventually up to humans. These microplastics also tend to bind to toxins in the environment, which are then transferred from animals to humans in a process called bio-accumulation.

6. HEMP PLASTIC IS NON-TOXIC

Unlike petroleum-based plastics, hemp plastic doesn't have harmful endocrine disruptors, like BPA, which can cause a ton of health issues, such as:

  • Cancer
  • Infertility
  • Issues with fetal development
  • Brain function
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes

In the US, 93% of people over the age of 6 have been found to have traces of BPA in their bodies, which is… well, horrifying. Plastic made from hemp, however, does not contain any harmful substances like BPA, which means it is especially ideal for storing food.

7. HEMP PLASTIC IS CARBON NEUTRAL

Hemp is a total hero when it comes to carbon absorption. For every ton of hemp produced, 1.63 tons of carbon is removed from the air. This carbon locks into hemp, which when made into plastic, stays there, preventing it from being emitted into the atmosphere. In addition, hemp consumes far more greenhouse gasses during its production than it will ever emit, unlike petroleum-based plastic.

8. HEMP PLASTIC IS A RENEWABLE RESOURCE

A field of green hemp plants grow tall, haphazardly reaching toward a blue sky.

Hemp doesn’t deplete the soil it grows in, making it a renewable resource (unlike fossil fuels, which are certainly not renewable). Hemp is even being used to cleanse highly polluted soil, such as at Chernobyl. The deep roots of hemp ease soil erosion, and hemp itself is able to absorb toxins in the soil and still grow, which cleanses the soil. In addition, hemp plastic could be made from hemp byproducts or hemp biomass, which is, essentially, all of the leftover parts of the plant after the farmer harvests it for uses such as CBD oil.

9. HEMP PLASTIC IS GREENER THAN OTHER BIOPLASTICS

Bioplastic has traditionally been made from corn, which is currently the cheapest and most commonly used bioplastic ingredient. However, this is not necessarily because corn is more efficient at making a bioplastic, but more to cultural considerations, such as laws and federal subsidies. In fact, hemp absorbs more carbon, reaches maturity faster, and uses about half the amount of water needed for growing corn. Hemp FTW!

10. ANYTHING PLASTIC CAN DO, HEMP CAN DO TOO

Name something plastic, and hemp plastic can most likely replace the traditional petroleum-based plastic. You can have things like a hemp plastic bottle, sure, but you can also use hemp-based plastic in automobiles, building materials, shoes, bicycles, and the list goes on (and on and on!)  As an extra bonus, hemp plastic can replace standard plastics without causing excess capital or operating expense. As plastic made from hemp has such similar properties to conventional plastics, the transition between them is also easier, which is the best way to ensure it will someday get adopted as a replacement.

CONS OF HEMP PLASTIC

A single hemp leaf lies on an American one hundred dollar bill, depicting Benjamin Franklin.

I know, at this point, you’re probably wondering if there are any cons to hemp plastics? And well, yes, there are a few to keep in mind:

  • Hemp Plastic Could Cause An Agricultural Imbalance. Since you need to grow hemp, even if it’s an awesome crop, it will need land to do said growing, which could reallocate land needed for growing food.
  • Hemp Needs Land To Grow. In addition to the above, hemp potentially replacing food (although you can eat hemp too!... but I digress), hemp also will take up land being used for other things. Current plastic is made from petroleum, which, as you know, is not a crop, and therefore doesn’t (technically) need land.
  • Hemp Plastic Is (Sort Of) New. Actually, hemp plastic has been in use for awhile (like Henry Ford’s hemp car!), but it’s still relatively new to being adapted for use in everyday plastic. So, to really reap the full bennys of plastic made from hemp, more experimentation needs to be done.
  • Hemp Has Legislative Barriers Around The World. I’m looking at you, War on Drugs! Legislation that has tied hemp with it’s psychotropic cuz, marijuana, has made it difficult to grow hemp. With newer legislation, this is slowly changing, but still has a lot of stigma to overcome.
  • Hemp Plastic Needs Recycling Plants. While hemp is biodegradable and compostable and all of that, it still needs somewhere to go when you’re done using it! It’s not a bad thing to have more recycling plants, but they do need to be built.

HOW TO INCORPORATE HEMP PLASTIC INTO YOUR DAILY LIFE

A bunch of green hemp straws are partially out of a natural brown box, lying on a white table on it’s side, with one straw next to the box.

The next question is… how, exactly, do you incorporate hemp plastics into your everyday life? You’ve heard about a bunch of other hemp products, including everything from hemp paper to a hemp bra, but what about the plastic angle?

Lucky for you, there are quite a few ways to use hemp plastic on the daily, beyond the hemp plastic bottle. Read on for some ideas.

  • TRY… hemp straws. We all know that plastic straws are basically the worst, but if you’re missing the bendy factor from plastic in your reusable metal straws, you gotta try hemp straws!

  • TRY… a hemp yoga mat. It’s sad news that even yoga mats are made with plastic. But now they make an eco-friendly option out of hemp, yay!

    • BUY… a Wild Hemp Yoga Mat, for a biodegradable, handmade option that is rubber and latex free.
A pen made out of hemp wood, with the grain polished, is shadowed from the sun as it sits on a snow bank.
  • TRY… hemp pens. The 2018 Farm Bill, which made it legal to, once again, grow industrial hemp, was famously signed with a hemp pen. Now you can buy one of your very own!

    • BUY… HempWood Pen Blanks, for some seriously beautiful pens that are also customizable with your favorite ink tips.

  • TRY… a hemp drink koozie! If you want to keep your cans or bottles fresh and cool, a koozie is totes necessary. Now you can buy a greener option made from hemp plastic.

    • BUY… a Recoil Cooler, for the ultimate koozie that fits a ton of different can and bottle shapes.

  • TRY… a hemp cooler. Whether you’re camping in the forest or in your own backyard, you need to keep those drinks cool on a muggy summer night. Enter a hemp cooler!

    • BUY… a Taiga Cooler, for a hard-sided cooler made with hemp and other eco-friendly materials, that can hold up to 24 cans, because you know you need that many (and more).

  • TRY… hemp sunglasses. You gotta protect those peepers of yours from the sun, and it seems like plastic is the best way to do that—until hemp sunglasses came into the light! (Pun very much intended).

    • BUY… a pair from Hemp Eyewear. They’re totally gorgeous, and you can also buy some eyeglasses from them, if you so need.

Well, there ya go! Some ideas for how to use hemp plastic, now that you know why it’s probably gonna save us all.

If you have any more products you use, please let me know in the comments! I’m always looking for more hemp plastics and products to purchase—because money talks, yo, and the more hemp products we buy, the more will get made. Go for hemp!



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