Although it is not much wrong with the conventional paper created by chopping down trees, there is one glaring issue; they are not a renewable source.
On the other hand, hemp paper is quite an effective alternative. You may find it surprising, but one of the first batches of paper had a bit of hemp in it.
Hemp is significantly a better choice for a paper due to its low level of lignin content and high levels of cellulose.
Also, hemp is remarkably more sustainable and eco-friendly than the paper made out of trees.
The reason for it is that producing hemp takes lesser time in comparison to trees.
Nevertheless, similar to hemp-based plastics, replacing the trees based papers with hemp-based papers is impossible to achieve overnight.
Hemp Paper: What Is It?
Hemp plant’s short bast fiber and long bast fibers are part of developing hemp paper. Upon using, you will notice that paper made from pulp is not strong in comparison to hemp paper.
However, because of pulp paper’s softness, making it is easier for everyday use. Hemp hurds has a chemical composition that shares a few similarities with wood.
This makes hemp an excellent raw material option to manufacture paper. It would be fair to say that hemp paper’s quality is far better than wood paper, the reason being that hemp pulp is a better choice for paper in comparison to wood pulp.
During the 1800s, the usage of hemp was quite common; however, it began to decline during the early years of the 1900s because authorities started to prohibit hemp trading and production.
A Brief History of Hemp Paper
Hemp has a storied history. The hemp-based paper originated in China, created by breaking down the hemp fabric in thin sheets; that was not all, however, as the investors also mixed some agricultural waste in it.
People have been using hemp far before using it as a paper. It was a renowned source of rope, fabric, foods, and tons of other products. In the United States, the founding forefathers used hemp paper quite regularly.
The Colonies, in particular, used Hemp paper for printing pamphlets that had their revolutionary plans and ideas written or printed on them.
The Numerous Benefits of Hemp Paper
- A single hemp acre is capable of producing trees in more than 4 to 10 acres over a cycle of twenty years.
- Tree stalks take around twenty and eighty years to grow. Hemp stalks, however, require only four months.
- In comparison to wood, hemp has a higher cellulose concentration, which is a vital ingredient for making good quality paper.
- Paper is made from trees that require some chemical content, which is quite toxic. On the other hand, hemp is mostly free of toxic elements.
- Using hemp paper on a widespread scale can be hugely helpful for reducing deforestation and help with environmental stability.
- The lignin content in hemp is far lower than the lignin content in wood. It is vital to remove lignin before processing paper.
- In comparison to trees, hemp is significantly more durable. It does not crack, deteriorate, or become yellow.
What does the future look like?
Deforestation and paper waste is becoming more and more prevalent. This major problem requires immediate addressing. Fortunately, hemp could prove to be a significant contributor to the solution.
Of course, the solution will not occur overnight, but creating an infrastructure that promotes the hemp paper industry could be a step in the right direction.
Creating a massive domestic hemp supply is a significant barrier. At present, most of the hemp comes from overseas, especially Canada, which is costly.
Although hemp production has increased rapidly over the past few years in the United States, it will still take some time for the country to become self-sufficient in the hemp-based paper.
Additionally, a considerable quantity of paper mills will have to adapt to hemp paper by learning their particular machinery.
Despite the few temporary limitations, it’s future seems to be on the up and up. More and more companies are stepping up by experimenting with waste products derived from products made from hemp and converting them to paper.
If these experiments continue to be persistent, who knows, in the next decade, hemp might reign supreme over tree paper.