Benefits of Hemp Plastic Packaging
Hemp plastics are becoming more popular as the push for sustainable packaging continues. Many manufacturers are searching for renewable resources that can replace the fossil fuels and other materials used to create plastics. Hemp seems to be a viable alternative for these manufacturers, especially those who deal with short-term and single-use plastics. While it’s still fairly new to the packaging industry, there are plenty of reasons to start embracing hemp packaging. Here are some of the benefits of hemp plastic packaging and how it serves as a better alternative to other forms of plastic packaging.
Hemp Plastic is Biodegradable
Regular plastic materials can take decades to fully decompose, and that’s only if the right conditions are present to speed up the process. Hemp plastic, like many other bioplastics, is able to decompose within three to six months, which makes it a better alternative for single-use plastics and short-term packaging.
We have landfills full of plastic that isn’t decomposing fast enough, and there are clusters of plastic waste forming in the ocean that cause damage to our ecosystems. Because plastic has become such a problem, there is a global push to find more sustainable options for packaging and other areas where plastic is in high demand. Hemp plastic is one of the alternative options that has recently come to light.
Making Hemp Packaging Doesn’t Require Fossil Fuels
The process of making hemp plastic doesn’t require the use of fossil fuels like other plastics. Fossil fuels have to be excavated in ways that damage the environment, such as fracking. Fracking is the process of harvesting deep rock formations using high-pressure liquids. Many companies claim that fracking is safe for the environment, but it actually has been proven to release toxins into the air, ground soil, and nearby water supplies.
According to the Production, use, and fate of all plastics ever maderesearch article, fossil fuels provide the monomers used to make plastics, such as ethylene and propylene. With bioplastics, fossil fuels and the materials they provide can be replaced with renewable sources, such as hemp.
Processing Hemp Doesn’t Use as Much Water
Other renewable materials such as wood and cotton are also used to make plastic, but hemp provides an environmental benefit over these when it comes to water consumption. Compared to cotton, hemp requires 50 percent less water to farm. Processing cotton also uses up to four times as much water compared to hemp processing. Because the sustainability of a particular material takes into account every aspect required to harvest and manufacturer it, this makes hemp plastic a more viable alternative.
Hemp is a Good Source for Raw Materials
Hemp happens to be a great resource for cellulose, which is required during the plastic manufacturing process. Those who make plastic look for materials that have high concentrations of cellulose. Hemp has around 65 to 75 percent of cellulose, which makes it an excellent choice for plastic manufacturers.
You can clearly see why hemp plastics are becoming more popular for different applications, such as packaging. This new type of bioplastic is still in its infant stages but will certainly become more commonplace as time goes on. Like other bioplastics, hemp plastics offer a better solution that is more sustainable than traditional plastics.