Why is hemp the most sustainable fabric?
Posted on Tuesday, July 21 2020 02:00:00 AM in HMPLB Blog by Siew-Joe Lee
“Everyone in the textile industry knows that there won’t be enough cotton in the future to supply the demand. We are dealing with a growing world population and a growing prosperity level. Due to climate change, the availability to sweet water is also decreasing. A worldwide organisation that wants to continue growing knows this. They think about their own growth and future. They are aware of the fact that raw materials and resources are becoming scarce, within the textile industry this mainly counts for cotton.”- Jeroen Bos, textile engineer
The textile industry has grown out to be one of the most polluting industries in the world. This has to change. Currently used raw materials for most textile products are damaging our planet beyond repair. About 70% of the environmental impact of your textile products is due to the used materials. We are convinced that the world has to use more plant-based fibers in order to develop better and more sustainable textiles. No fiber is perfect, however we think hemp is very close to perfect. We hope we can convince you to choose for hemp too after reading this blog.
1. LESS WATER
Can you imagine a day without water? Probably not. Even harder to imagine is that two thirds of the world population has experienced water scarcity in one form or another. Even in developed countries it’s becoming harder and harder to meet the water demand. We waste water without thinking twice, because we take it for granted. The increasing water scarcity is real, so we need to start saving water in any way we can.
Hemp can be a true game changer in the world wide water usage. Hemp requires only between 2.401 and 3.401 liters of water to produce 1 kilogram of usable fibers. Cotton, in comparison, requires 9.758 liters of water to produce 1 kilogram of usable fibers, this is up to three times more than hemp! So, when you buy a product made out of 100% hemp, you’re saving the whole world a lot of water.
2. NO PESTICIDES AND HERBICIDES
Pesticides and herbicides are developed to protect plants against bacteria, vermin, fungi and insects. They do precisely this and a lot more. The use of these chemicals has harmful effects on virtually every life form on earth, in lakes, oceans and nature in general. Fortunately, hemp is naturally protected against vermin, fungi and bacteria; meaning it has no need for these chemicals.
3. LESS LAND AND NATURAL GROWTH EFFICIENCY
The yield of a crop and the use of land play an important role in each calculation for sustainability. Hemp requires a lot less land to produce the same amount of fibers as other crops. This is due to their natural density. Per hectare hemp produces up to 250% more fibers than cotton and 600% more fibers than flax (linen). Even better; hemp grows extremely fast. On average hemp can be harvested 100 days after sowing. Cotton in comparison can only be harvested after 6 months!
4. NO WASTE
Every part of the hemp plant can be used by people. As HMPLB we use the bast fibers to create fabrics. Besides fabrics, bast fibers have been used for thousands of years to create paper.
The wood like core of the stem is used to make carbon friendly building materials. Take a look at HempCrete if this peaks your interest, this is the hemp alternative for concrete which can be used for construction and isolation. It is just as strong as traditional concrete, while not being toxic and is naturally resistant to mold, insects and fire.
Parts of the plant can also be used as food. Hempseeds, which you’ve probably seen crossing your instagram feed, are considered super foods. The hempseed is the only plant source of complete proteins (all 9 amino acids), which hold an ideal ratio of good omega fatty acids.
5. SOIL HEALTH
A lot of life starts in our soil. A healthy soil produces healthy plants which contribute to healthy people and a healthy planet. The hemp plant remedies soil erosion.
Hemp has a taproot which can penetrate deep through the soil to absorb water and nutrients. These deep roots prevent soil erosion and also aerate the soil, enriching it for the next cultivation. Ukraine used hemp to clean Chernobyl. Allowing for a natural way to remove radioactive elements out of the soil and groundwater.
Hemp has the incredible ability to improve the soil it is grown on, through a process called phytoremediation. During this process hemp traps polluting substances such as heavy metals by absorbing them through the roots.
6. REDUCTION OF CO2 POLLUTION
Hemp Copenhagen has scientifically proven that industrial hemp absorbs more CO2 per hectare than any other crop. One hectare industrial hemp can absorb 22 tonnes of CO2 per hectare. Due to the fact that hemp has a high natural growth efficiency and grows extremely fast; it is possible to harvest twice a year. Hemp can then be converted in products which permanently hold carbon, such as hemp concrete and other building materials. Hemp can be a real game changer in our quest to a CO2 neutral society.