Environmentally Friendly Practices in the Hemp Industry

Environmentally Friendly Practices in the Hemp Industry

Hemp and hemp-derived products have steadily gained mainstream attention in recent years, and for good reason – hemp has over 25,000 documented uses, many of which are highly beneficial to your health!

As the hemp industry continues to grow, many people are asking, “Is hemp sustainable?” Or perhaps, “Is hemp environmentally friendly?” Let’s explore these questions together, focusing on hemp’s environmental impact and the ways in which many manufacturers strive to enact environmentally friendly practices within the hemp industry.

 

What is hemp?

The passing of the 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp nationwide. By extension, this landmark legislation also legalized hemp-derived CBD, or cannabidiol. In the United States, legal hemp is now defined as any cannabis plant that contains less than 0.3% of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) by weight.

THC produces the characteristic “high” that accompanies marijuana use. Although hemp and hemp-derived CBD products may contain a small amount of THC by law, this amount is comparatively negligible and does not produce any psychoactive effects when consumed. To learn more about the factors that differentiate hemp, cannabis, and marijuana, follow this link.

Hemp is an extremely versatile plant with thousands of potential uses. For example, hemp oil, milk, and seeds are highly nutritious and can be eaten or cooked into various meals; hemp fibers are often woven into textiles and durable fabrics; and hemp’s woody core, or hurd, can be used to manufacture paper or construction materials. Fun fact: every part of the hemp plant can be used, making it an incredibly useful, sustainable, and environmentally friendly crop.

 

Is hemp environmentally friendly?

In short, yes, hemp is an environmentally friendly plant.

As mentioned, hemp can be used to create an expansive variety of commercial and personal goods. From seeds and leaves to stems and stalks, every part of the hemp plant can be used in some product or another. This makes hemp a highly sustainable crop when used efficiently.

Hemp’s positive environmental impact goes far beyond product creation: this plant is even known to return nutrients to the soil in which it grows and clean toxic irradiated and heavy-metal-laden soil in a process called phytoremediation. Amazingly, studies like this one not only find that phytoremediation incurs no discernable detrimental effects to the plant itself – the process additionally appears to proliferate greater quantities of CBD.

Relative to popular crops like cotton or trees, hemp offers superior sustainability. Hemp yields up to 8.7 tons of fiber per acre, produces higher concentrations of cellulose than trees harvested for paper, and requires approximately 50% less water than cotton each grow season.

Additionally, hemp is completely biodegradable and produces little to no waste!

 

How does the hemp industry practice environmental awareness?

The hemp plant’s own reputation for sustainability and environmental friendliness is sound and hardly disputed. But what of the hemp industry?

Because the United States hemp industry is still in development, many hemp textiles are imported from overseas. This can make the price of hemp exorbitantly expensive.

Luckily, U.S. based hemp manufacturers and cultivators are on the rise, motivated not only by the plant’s many eco-friendly attributes, but also by its cost-effectiveness. Many companies are interested in hemp’s economic benefits and ability to increase market share.

Using hemp in automotive manufacturing, for just one example, helps to make cars lighter and more fuel efficient, naturally decreasing production and usage costs. Hemp is also making its rounds as biofuel, paper, and “hempcrete,” a construction material that typically combines hemp hurd with water, chalk, and lime.

Hemp farmers maintain environmental integrity by using hemp to clean toxic soil regions and prepare that soil for other nutritional crops. Hemp’s growth patterns are also more reliable than crops like soy or corn, increasing overall profit and decreasing the waste output often produced by those other crops. Because it’s a fast-growing crop, hemp eliminates environmental toxins faster than other plants with similar phytoremediation properties.

As hemp farms increase in size and quantity, many are adopting standard operating procedures (SOPs) that boast environmentally friendly standards to produce better quality plants with greater sustainability ratings.

This includes low-hazard fertilizer and pesticide use (fun fact: hemp itself acts as a natural pesticide, herbicide, and fungicide!), certified hemp seed selection, proper field preparation measures, sustainable water use, and use of eco-friendly equipment and preparation, planting, and harvesting materials.

In an effort to uphold environmental friendliness, hemp farmers and manufacturers typically emphasize whole-plant usage wherever possible.

 

As a reinvigorated interest in hemp blossoms, the hemp industry only continues to flourish. Coupled with a burgeoning nationwide interest in renewable, sustainable practices, hemp stands out as one of the most eco-friendly materials available. We’re happy to know that the hemp industry implements high-standard environmental practices, and we hope to see a continuation in sustainable customs.



time Apr 25, 2024
1

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