HEMP is an herb that grows quickly and without the need for pesticides. It takes up less space than trees, produces more pulp per acre, and is biodegradable. Not only does it pay back by returning nutrients to the soil and sequestering carbon dioxide, but practically all parts of the plant can be used. Industrial hemp is lighter and less expensive to process than wood, with an acre of hemp planted for 40 years yielding 400% more usable fiber than an acre of trees over its 40-year life cycle.
Hemp is the world's most efficient source of biomass, with stems ready to be processed in just 91 days. Hemp is lighter, stronger, and less expensive than wood products. Four acres of trees produce the same amount of cellulose fiber as just one acre of hemp, and hemp reaches maturity in only 100 days compared to 50-100 years for a tree. When ready to harvest, hemp can reach an impressive height of up to 20 feet. HEMP's ability to produce oxygen does not deteriorate over time, making it a more effective crop than agroforestry for producing oxygen.
A researcher at the University of Cambridge revealed that hemp crops can capture atmospheric carbon more effectively than forests, while providing carbon-negative biomaterials. Trees take a long time to grow, which is why they are cut down faster than they can be replaced. Hemp paper can be recycled up to seven times, while tree paper can only be recycled up to three times.
Hemp plantshave an exceptionally high capacity to extract and contain CO2, which is much higher than that of trees. Combined with the ability to grow two crops a year, it means that hemp grown on one hectare can absorb 44 tons of carbon dioxide in one year. Hemp has the potential to be the most environmentally friendly crop in the world if properly cared for.
The hemp plant produces strong fibers with a low lignin content (the part of the plant that binds fibers together in a thread). Any pesticide sprayed on hemp soil will be absorbed by the roots of the plant itself and used as a natural defense mechanism against insects and pests. Hemp packaging uses less energy and fewer natural resources, since hemp fibers are stronger and thinner than paper. Overall, hemp has been cultivated for more than 10,000 years and is considered to be one of the strongest fibers in the world. It can be converted into biodiesel by pressing the hemp seed into oil, and the fermented stalk can be converted to ethanol and methanol.
Hemp has many uses that are similar to petroleum-based plastics but are 100% biodegradable and recyclable.