In a very recent article featured on Cannabidiol360.com, something very important for many to reflect on is posted at the very beginning. The article states,“As of current, the Hemp Industry is a 600 million dollar enterprise, in which this rapidly expanding industry is transforming the very economic structure of America.”
Not to mention, one statement I have continually heard is that “The hemp plant is responsible for having such defining characteristics that is known for being one of the most versatile natural resources on the planet.”
From this, one industry that hemp is slowly but surely disrupting and more than likely replacing, is the global plastics industry!
The Global Plastics Problem
In an interview with The Guardian, Frans Timmermans, vice-president of the Brussels commission, described the damaging effects of these plastics, “single-use plastics that take five seconds to produce, you use it for five minutes and it takes 500 years to break down again.”
One reason plastic is so toxic is because of its long shelf life — it takes between 500-1,000 years for plastic to degrade. It is said that plastic pollution is destroying our planet by every passing minute.
In fact, so much plastic is thrown away each year it could circle the earth four times and these numbers are on the rise.
On the other hand, a solution of using hemp plastic is becoming more acceptable and necessary. But is hemp plastic biodegradable? Yes, hemp plastic is biodegradable and takes only 3-6 months to degrade. Hemp plastics also don’t pose the health risks conventional plastics continuously cause.
Right now, there are already many different options for types of hemp plastic. There are conventional plastics reinforced with fibers of hemp or there is also a 100% hemp plastic, manufactured entirely from the hemp plant.
Furthermore, the most typically utilized type of hemp plastic, as of current, are those plastics which infuse hemp fibers. The benefits of infusing hemp fibers is that much less plastic is used. Less plastic means there is less oil being used, henceforth, less environmental destruction!
In comparison to traditional plastics, hemp plastic does not contribute to environmental damages that can not be repaired — at least not yet.
Hopefully, our booming technology sector can invent some artificial intelligence program to repair the parts of nature we have destroyed, which is quite a massive undertaking, especially for just the plastic pollution that still occurs.
Meanwhile, hemp plastic is known to have far less of a shelf-life, biodegrading in 3-6 months when manufactured along with biodegradable polymers.
A water bottle may only be used for a several minutes, but it will always take hundreds of years to decompose and just think of all the other widely-used plastic products.
For instance, plastic wares like tupperware and grocery bags, electronics, buttons, packaging materials — it’s easy to see why plastic pollution is growing worldwide, we use it far too often and it’s extremely unreliable.
From within the U.S. alone, Americans throw out approximately 38 billion plastic water bottles as trash annually. More often than not, this plastic will settle into the soil across the land and even find its way into the oceans.
The end result is ultimately extremely harmful to any ecosystem and their natural state, no matter how diverse the biodiversity — plastic pollution destroys the landscape beyond repair.
However, the most disturbing factor is indeed the fact that the same plastic being thrown away as trash concludes it’s “polluting expedition” by finding refuge within our bodies. Yes, inside our bodies. Hopefully, you are quickly seeing the urgency.
Apparently, the one slogan, “Recycle, Reduce, Reuse” force-fed to my generation growing up in grade school, was not something expressed with the level of urgency it should have been.
Yet, what’s more probable is the fact that we did not pay attention in the appropriate manner that was initially asked of us. Either way, no matter what is to blame, the idea that a solution is necessary is what seems far more important.
Big Ideas, Bigger Results, Big Business
The uses for Hemp are nearly endless when technological innovation penetrates the Industry. For instance, Hemp is currently being used by major car manufacturers, such as GM and Ford.
Not to mention, other consumer merchandise, like toys, furniture, bags, cosmetics, electronics, and so on. These are merely just suggested examples and only a finite glimpse into the potential options where hemp could be used to replace existing plastic based products.
There is indeed quite an amazing innovative example we could reflect on when explaining this to others. Any guesses? That’s right! “The plane, the plane!” Oh wait, that’s right, this should have been huge news, but barely anyone has heard about it due to lack of broadcast and awareness of the power of hemp.
From the company Hempearth, they launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the world’s first hemp airplane which runs on hemp fuel. More information will be provided on this topic soon. Until then, feel free to learn more by watching this video from Hempearth:
The Reality of Using Hemp Plastic
Plain and simple, the fact of the matter is that plastic pollution is out of control and hemp can help. We now know hemp doesn’t pose the health risks conventional plastics do. As a matter of fact, not only can hemp treat and prevent poor health conditions affecting human beings, but hemp can additionally aid the health of animals.
Altogether, manufacturing costs of hemp plastics would be exponentially lower than any ordinary plastic being used today.
So, it is entirely logical from a business perspective to begin a process that transitions away from traditional plastics and instead produces products with hemp plastic.
Plastic made from hemp is five times as stiff and 3.5 times stronger than polypropylene, one of the most commonly used types of plastic. Hemp plastic is also much lighter in weight. The versatility of hemp allows it to be so far removed from any other typical manufacturing materials.
Hemp plastic provides durability and strength while also being lightweight, so not only is hemp plastic stronger, it’s safer. All these quality features combined make hemp plastic a no brainer solution.
Considering this, why would any business want to operate with the likelihood of spending more money from manufacturing costs, face issues of causing potential health and safety precautions, when there is a less risky and less expensive quality alternative?
Unfortunately, the answer to this question is both simple and complicated to understand — just know it deals with the complexity of economics and government.
Potential Barriers for Hemp Plastic
The only main issue I forsee to become problematic, is that plastics are essentially categorized as a “petrochemical,” meaning petroleum is the natural, yet limited resource used to manufacture nearly all plastic items used as of current.
What’s the key takeaway from this fact? The plastics industry is an extension of a major facilitator that props up the entire American economy, the industrial giant of Big Oil.
Do we honestly believe big oil industrialists will simply step aside as a show of respect for defeating them at the game they created? If we do think this is how it will work, then we are disillusioned by American idealism and blinded by our own fatalism.
Furthermore, the hemp industry has quickly positioned itself within the U.S. economy as a major disruption within the American social structure. The fact that hemp can be used to make other materials that are far more healthier for human beings as well as the environment are indeed vastly advantageous.
Additionally, hemp is even a more cost-effective business approach that can reach a diverse collection of corporate entities that are currently positioned as extensions of powerful Big Business.
What happens when the well-known big businesses, who are known for controlling the majority of Corporate America, react to these circumstances?
They are likely not going to stand idly by. So, what does this potentially mean for the American economy? It could be advantageous for many or perhaps a crisis for most.
While the emergence of modern industries, like industrial hemp can bring a number of opportunities for many people, this transition could also eliminate thousands, if not millions of jobs. Is this an assumption or a statement of fact? Maybe it is both.
Regardless, while I remain a proponent of social progression and modern industry, it is difficult not to ask such questions when analyzing the bits and pieces that hold our social structure in place, which is of course always going to involve economic elements in the long run.
All we currently know for certain is that there is a solution to the rising global plastic problem. Hemp plastic is the answer. Let’s hope, perhaps, everyone comprehends the undeniable positive differences this plant can have on all of our lives as well as the whole of our social reality!