The U.S. consumes 200,000,000 tons of wood products annually. This is obtained from 1 billion trees each year. The US consumes 30% of the paper produced globally. It is expected that demand will double by 2050.
The U.S. paper industry is the 3rd largest energy consumer. The pulp and paper industry is the 3rd largest industrial polluter with 220 million pounds of toxic pollution into air and water each year. 3 million tons of chlorine is dumped into our waterways each year from paper companies. This is a major source of carcinogen dioxin and dioxin is considered one of the most toxic substances ever produced.
What is Hemp Paper?
Hemp paper can be made from hemp plants’ long bast fiber or the short bast fiber (hurd or pulp). Pulp paper is not as strong, but is easier to make, softer, thicker, and preferable for most everyday purposes.
The chemical composition of hemp hurds is similar to that of wood, making hemp a good choice as a raw material for manufacturing paper. The very first paper in the world was made from hemp, and as a plant, hemp is more suitable for paper as it has a higher cellulose and lower lignin content.
Hemp paper is also much more eco-friendly and sustainable than tree paper, as hemp can be produced much quicker than trees. The quality of paper is actually higher than wood, as hemp pulp is much better for paper than wood pulp.
Some Hemp Facts
- 1 acre of Hemp can produce as much paper as 4-10 acres of trees over a 20 year cycle.
- Hemp stalks grow in 4 months, whereas trees take 20-80 years.
- Hemp has higher concentration of cellulose than wood, the principal ingredient in paper.
- Trees are made up of only 30% cellulose, requiring the use of toxic chemicals to remove the other 70%. Hemp, on the other hand, can have have up to 85% cellulose content.
- Hemp has lower lignin content than wood. Hemp contains 5-24% lignin whereas wood has 20-35%. This is advantageous as lignin must be removed from the pulp before it can be processed as paper.
- Hemp paper is more durable than trees. Hemp paper does not yellow, crack, or deteriorate like tree paper.
- Wider use of hemp paper can help sustainability efforts to reduce deforestation. (ministryofhemp.com)