Why Hemp?

Plantchester products are made from hemp because it’s a product from the past here to save our future. 

Human use of hemp goes back at least 6,000 years, making it one of the oldest non-food source crops ever grown (van der Warf et al., 1996).

Hemp is not the same as Weed.

Cannibis sativa L. (hemp) originates from central Asia but can be grown from the Equator up to the Polar Circles (van der Warf et al., 1996). Hemp was unfortunately caught up in the War on Drugs going back as far as the 1950s when it was confused with its psychoactive cousin Marijuana

Hemp, by definition, contains low levels of THC (the psychoactive chemical which gives the high). To cultivate hemp in Victoria, Tasmania, and Western Australia the plants must have less than 0.35% THC, and New South Wales, South Australia, and Queensland less than 1%. Cultivation was banned in Australia in 1937 and it wasn’t allowed again until 2017 under tight restrictions.

Hemp requires less water than cotton to grow.

Hemp is a brilliant fibre to use because it requires a fraction of the amount of water to grow compared to other fibre crops such as cotton and flax. Cotton uses between 7000 to 29,000 litres of water to produce 1 kilogram of raw fibre (Kalliala & Nousiainen, 1999). In comparison, hemp requires just over 300 litres to produce a kilogram of usable fibre (Cherrett et al., 2005). 

Hemp sequesters more carbon dioxide than any other crop.

The emissions generated during the cultivation of cotton amount to 4.7 kg of CO2e per kg of cotton fibre, whilst absorbing 1.65 kg of CO2 as it grows, resulting in the overall production of 3kg of CO2 per kilogram of cotton fibre produced (Kalliala & Nousiainen, 1999). Comparatively, one kilogram of hemp generates 0.1-0.2 kg of CO2 per kilogram of fibre, whilst absorbing 29.33kg of CO2 (Aytaç, 2018). This makes hemp 400% more efficient at absorbing CO2 than any other commercial crop (Aytaç, 2018).

Hemp doesn’t need any chemicals.

As a crop, hemp can be produced continually without the cumulative environmental impacts of crops such as cotton. This is because it requires little to no agrochemicals for cultivation due to being naturally pest resistant and drought tolerant (van der Warf and Turunen, 2008).

In comparison, cotton crops can be treated with pesticides up to 20 times per season which have subsidiary consequences for the surrounding environment  (van der Warf et al., 1996).

Intensive irrigation and high fertiliser use further compound the environmental impact of cotton production (Pimental et al., 1990).

Whereas hemp improves soil structure, is virtually resistant to diseases and pests, whilst yielding several times more cellulose than other crops (van der Warf et al., 1996).

Hemp can be used for more than just fabric.

Unlike most other fibre crops, hemp can be used for multiple purposes, such as for food. Hemp seeds are high in Omega-3 and Omega-6, vitamin E and minerals - phosphorus, potassium, sodium, magnesium, sulphur, calcium, iron, and zinc (Mihoc et al., 2012).

Hemp seeds, by weight, provide similar amounts of protein as beef and lamb; 2–3 tablespoons (30 grams) of hemp seeds provide about 11 grams of protein (Callaway, 2004).

It can also be used in construction as composites for building, hemp cellulose is mixed with hydrated lime which absorbs atmospheric CO2 as it sets (due to the carbonisation of the lime) making it a carbon-positive construction material between - absorbing 1.6 to 79kg CO2e per square metre (Arehard et al., 2020).

Hemp is durable.

Hemp fabric is 3 times the tensile strength of cotton, meaning it will last longer.

Hemp used to be the fabric of choice for ship sails as it is naturally mould resistant, fire retardant, and extremely durable.

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