Why hemp paper is a better alternative for the environment

Published May 28, 2020 09:00 a.m. ET
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As we move forward in this new and exciting world that includes both hemp and cannabis in the legal market, we see a release of exotic products coming out to replace materials that we use in our everyday lives. This isn’t just to see if we can, but it’s because we need to do a better job of taking care of the environment, and this is just one great way to do that without making any huge changes to the things that we use on a regular basis.

Hemp paper is one of the oldest hemp products out there, and yet so many people have no idea what it is, how it’s made, or how good of a job it can do to replace the regular printer and lined paper that is standard today. Though it’s certainly more expensive than its counterpart, for now, it’s still well worth the cost in the end if you truly care about the planet, and here we’re going to explain why that is.

What is regular paper made out of?

We use regular pulp paper because it is affordable and made on a mass scale. It’s what we’re comfortable with, and what we’re used to, but it takes a massive toll on the environment because tree pulp is needed in order to make it. Tree pulp is essentially ground-up sawdust that is combined with a preservative and a small amount of water to make it malleable, and the result is a crisp, bright, white piece of paper that we use in every office and classroom today.

What is hemp paper made of?

A lot of people hear about hemp paper and visualize some fuzzy green slate, but it actually looks a whole lot like regular old tree paper. This is because it is not made with the bountiful hemp flower, as some people may think. Instead, it is crafted from the inner fibers harvested from industrial hemp plants, which are made into a paste, combined with water, and then shaped into paper pieces. The process is similar to that of tree-based paper, but the result is of much higher quality.

Why is tree paper no good for the environment?

You might be thinking to yourself about the last time that you got an important piece of paper wet, at which point, it virtually crumbled in your hands, with running ink and no way to turn back. This seems to imply that regular paper breaks down quite quickly, so at first glance, it might not appear to be a product that is harmful to the environment until you realize how long it takes for trees to grow, and how few pieces of paper each tree can actually give you.

This is a huge contributor to our devastated forests that have steadily dwindled over the last several decades, at an alarming rate that has an adverse impact on the environment. Without significant tree coverage, the earth’s CO2 levels will continue to rise, contributing to global warming, an issue that impacts virtually everyone in the world. As if that wasn’t enough, we’re also losing natural wildlife habitat and endangering species by clear-cutting their homes.

Hemp paper, of course, comes from hemp plants, and though it takes a pretty big harvest to make a good amount of usable paper, this is a crop that takes only a single growing season from start to finish. You don’t have to wait for 10 years or more for the grounds to replenish, and since it cleanses the soil, hemp plants can perform two much-needed tasks at the same time. That’s right, fields of hemp will also draw toxins out of grounds that are contaminated, leaving them fresh and ready for use.

Ultimately, both types of paper break down once they’ve been exposed to the various elements in nature, like water and sunlight. So, it isn’t their disposal that is the problem. It’s the journey that each piece makes on its way to homes, schools, and offices everywhere, as it is a process that severely and adversely impacts the planet in ways that can take years and even decades to make up for.

Hemp paper vs tree paper

There are many differences and similarities between hemp and tree paper, and here we’ll uncover all of them.

Hemp paper

  • Expensive to buy
  • Made with environmentally sustainable plants that are great for soil health
  • Lasts for 5-20 years on average
  • Easy to make
  • Excellent for all of your paper needs

Tree paper

  • Cheap to buy
  • Made by clear-cutting forests and woodlands
  • Lasts for 10-60 years on average
  • Easy to make
  • Does the job

Why is hemp paper more expensive to buy?

This natural resource is running out, and we really can’t afford to wait any longer, but a big thing holding interested customers back from making the switch is the exorbitant price tag that can easily be three times higher than the traditional tree paper. This unfortunate problem isn’t going to change on its own, because hemp paper isn’t going to get any cheaper until we start producing it on a larger scale. The only reason that it’s so expensive right now is that it’s an industry that needs investment to get started, and for that to happen, potential investors need to see three things.

  • They need to see farmers who have crops ready to turn into hemp paper.
  • They need demand to go up so that they know for sure this enticing new product will sell.
  • They need to know both of these things with absolute certainty to have any hope for bringing the price down, as it can cost millions of dollars for paper producers who are already in practice to buy the new tools and equipment necessary to make it.

To make this happen the fastest, the very best thing that you can do is to buy the hemp paper that is already on the market, which will help to support the confidence in the industry necessary for its success.

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