You recycle, bike to work, and eat organic local food. But how else can you support the well-being of both yourself and our planet?
Part of our mission here at Eco Health Source is to promote health and wellness for you and your pets through the use of hemp and CBD-based products. But if you look at our tagline, you’ll notice another crucial word included: Planet.
We love hemp because it can help our bodies in so many ways. But that’s only half the picture. From growth to its production into a wide variety of products, hemp offers an eco-friendly alternative to reduce our environmental impact.
As of this summer, 41 states have passed laws making hemp easier to grow on a commercial level. It’s a positive step forward not only for the CBD community, but also for planet Earth.
When it comes to agriculture, 3 major issues plaguing the industry today are pesticide use, water consumption, and the need to produce ever more crops on a finite amount of land.
Hemp can grow the same amount of product in one acre as two to three acres of cotton and four acres of trees. And, unlike trees, which take years to reach a harvestable size, a field of hemp can reach 10 to 20 feet in height within just a few months. By replacing products typically made of paper and wood with hemp-based alternatives, we could reduce deforestation without eliminating jobs by turning commercial logging companies into hemp producers.
Another hemp superpower? Natural pest resistance. Crops need to be protected against pests in order to grow, but this comes at a cost. Pesticides can remain on crops after harvest and are transferred to the consumer, leading to health problems ranging from skin irritations to cancer. The use of pesticides also pollutes the environment, and the costs farmers incur from using pesticides often means higher end costs to us as the consumer.
Hemp, on the other hand, is resistant to most pests. And because plants can be planted so closely together, less sunlight reaching the ground means weeds aren’t able to take over. Planting hemp alongside other crops can help deter pests and diseases on those crops, too.
Still not impressed? Hemp also uses about half the water needed to grow cotton. And, when the unused parts of the plant are tilled back into the soil, they can return as much as 70% of the nutrients used to grow the plant.
Hemp is an extremely versatile plant and can be made into a wide variety of products, including paper, cloth/clothing, food, nutritional supplements, beauty products, and building materials. And, just as growing hemp is more environmentally friendly than growing other crops, the materials produced from hemp are made in ways that limit our environmental impact as well.
Consider concrete. It’s one of the top producers of greenhouse gases, and we use a lot of it—about 10 billion tons are produced every year. On the other hand, concrete made with hemp does not produce any Carbon Dioxide. It actually absorbs CO2, creating a negative carbon footprint. “Hempcrete” is also fire-resistant, water-resistant, pest resistant, naturally insulating, and more resistant to force than standard concrete. And it’s versatile, allowing for construction of floors, walls, roofing, insulation, and more in the home.
Hemp is also an alternative to oil-based plastics. Since the 1950s, 9.1 billion tons of plastic has been created, most of which still exists in some form. Even as plastic breaks down over time, it doesn’t disappear. 8 million metric tons of plastic ends up in our oceans annually and is frequently consumed by marine life. We’re drowning in plastics, which are detrimental to our environment, are killing our wildlife, and could take thousands of years to fully degrade.
Hemp plastics could be a change for the better. While we may not be able to fully replace all plastics with a hemp version, there are many industries in which hemp plastic can play a role. It’s already prevalent in the automotive industry, used in dashboards and door panels as a lightweight and strong plastic alternative. And, hemp plastics are formulated to truly biodegrade in a shorter period, leaving less waste and reducing toxins in our environment.
Fast fashion is a major toll on our resources and environment. We’ve become accustomed to inexpensive clothes that tend to wear out quickly and are often discarded in landfills. The amount of resources needed to produce this level of fabrics and apparel is staggering and unsustainable.
We already know that growing hemp is more sustainable than cotton. But turning hemp into apparel items is better for our planet, too. Hemp fibers can be processed organically into fabrics without using chemicals. And its durability means no additives are needed to treat the fabric for strength. Durability also equals a longer lifetime for your clothes, and hemp fibers become softer with time. When produced without chemicals, hemp fabrics are hypoallergenic. They require less water during the dyeing process, and are naturally antimicrobial, UV resistant, absorbent and breathable.
Hemp is a low maintenance, fast growing crop that produces a high energy, versatile, and profitable material. And with rapidly changing legislation, hemp can now be grown and processed right here on American soil. If you’re seeking a healthy and environmentally friendly source for your building, apparel, and health supplement choices…think hemp!