Monetizing the Hemp Plant: Part Two

Here are a few more of the thousands of hemp-sourced products and ingredients set to fuel North American GDP as we prepare to enter a new decade:

CLOTHING and TEXTILES – Textiles made of hemp fiber are durable and resistant to stretching, holding their shape well throughout the years. Hemp clothing offers a breathable material perfect for multiple seasons (insulating during cold winter months, breathable through muggy summer times). The plant’s natural tan and taupe tones pair well with most colors, or the fabric can be dyed for a bolder look.

Tote Bags and Backpacks – Hemp fiber is quite strong (8x the tensile strength of cotton!) and perhaps the most durable of natural textile fibers. Resisting stretching and sagging, hemp textiles make for superb catch-all carriers that are often banged or beat-up.

RUGS and FLOOR COVERINGS – Non- toxic, durable and long-lasting, hemp fiber floor coverings are great for high traffic or sun-beaten areas. With just a few months to mature, hemp offers a more sustainable alternative to chemical and water-intensive fiber crops such as cotton.

FIBERBOARD – Hemp stalks contain two main types of fiber: bast, or long fibers found in the bark (skin), and hurd, or short fibers located in the core of the stem. These fibers can be used to create a mold and pest resistant hemp fiberboard that is lighter, ~2x as strong, and ~3x as elastic as wood chip particle boards.

FUEL – Organic plant matter (biomass) can be converted into a wide variety of fuels, primarily through pyrolysis, or the application of high heat with little or no air.  With a short maturation life (~4 months), effective carbon sequestration, and four times as much biomass/cellulose potential than its closest competitors (cornstalks, sugarcane, trees), hemp proves to be one of the most efficient and abundant sources of organic matter for conversion to fuel.

PLASTICS – Hemp plastics are non-toxic, biodegradable, and more sustainable than current petroleum-based methods. Hemp bio-plastic makes use of cellulose found in the stalk [bast] fibers and can even be mixed with traditional formulas for stronger composite plastic products. Standard compression and injection molding methods as well as new R&D advancements are making safer, alternative plastics feasible with a smaller ecological impact.

VEHICLES – Used for centuries to make durable canvas sails, ropes and rigging for sailing vessels, Henry Ford, (of automotive Ford fame), incorporated hemp with other plant materials to create a durable hemp plastic for the body and fenders of his early Model-T’s.  More recently, new methods of combining hemp cellulose fiber with water allows for the production of auto bodies and interior panels in virtually any shape or style, as well as scooters, skateboards, and bicycles.

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