Medical waste pollution is on the rise and you should care. Hemp fabric can save the day and we have some solid reasons why.
A whopping 4.4% of global net emissions are produced by the medical industry. It is calculated to be equivalent to 2 gigatons of carbon dioxide. That’s four times the mass of all people on earth.
Each time you visit the hospital or use a medical product, you contribute to the already massive climate footprint of the healthcare industry.
Are you prepared to take responsibility?
I certainly am not.
Medical Industry Pollution: The Pressing Problem At Hand And How To Solve It.
Medical waste pollution is a grave concern that gets brushed under the mat. We use big terms like “air pollution” and “water pollution”, all the while disregarding the smaller components that comprise them.
Take the issue of medical textiles for example. The most widely used medical textiles like cotton, viscose, polyester, polyamide, polypropylene, polyethylene, glass, and elastomeric, are unsustainable. They take and take from the environment and give back only toxins in return.
Remember, sustainability is not defined by whether the textile is natural or artificial. Even a natural fiber like cotton is too resource-hungry to be considered sustainable.
Unsustainable textile is one of the leading pollutants of the medical industry. But the world is silent about it.
I know, I know. The age-old question arises—but what can we do?
Well, I say, a hell lot!
If we have managed to bring about this destruction, we also have the power to make it right. And nature will help us on this mission.
A few years ago I realized the God-given solution to all our problems, that is Hemp. That is the chief reason I founded Hemp Foundation! And the rest is history in the making.
Apart from its 25,000 other uses, hemp can also be spun into yarn. It produces sustainable fabric. Hemp fabric properties can address the question of sustainability in healthcare. It can do wonders for the medical industry.
Hemp Fabric Is Perfect As A Medical Textile. Here Are 7 Reasons Why.
- A Sustainable Crop That Gives Back More Than It Takes
The hemp crop is gentle to the environment. It returns tenfold the greenery and nutrition, that it gets from nature.
Sustainability is the other name of hemp. It beats all other crops every step of the way. And I’m not saying this because I’m biased.
It’s the other way around. I’m biased towards hemp because it is so sustainable.
Don’t believe me?
Let the following facts speak for themselves:
- Hemp grows in numerous seasons and soils around the world. From warm tropical to mildly cool temperate climate—everything works. Hemp doesn’t have hard-set conditions for growth. It is not high maintenance.
- If the ground permits, the roots descend far down. Hemp anchors and protects the soil from runoff. It can also help slow down deforestation.
- Hemp grows within 3-4 months. It is a high-yield crop. It produces more fiber than cotton and flax by 250% and 600% respectively.
- The water requirement is subliminal. Since it irrigates itself naturally, hemp needs very little water.
- The soil is replenished with nutrients instead of being exhausted. As hemp plants shed their leaves throughout the growing season, rich organic matter is added to the topsoil. The soil is thus left in excellent condition for any succeeding crop.
- Being a carbon-negative crop, hemp absorbs more carbon dioxide than it produces during its entire life cycle. Efficient carbon sequestration is the key to this. It can even clear the air of toxic radiation.
- Hemp crop doesn’t need the assistance of fertilizers and pesticides. It is naturally pest and weed-resistant. Thus no toxic contamination of soil.
- Every single part of the hemp plant has a plethora of uses. From the seed to the leaves—nothing goes to waste.
Hemp is a sustainable fabric. If hemp is used as a medical textile, it would make a sizable dent in the carbon footprint of the medical industry.
- Fabric That Is Endowed With Herculean Strength
You will need thrice the power to rip something made of hemp, as compared to cotton.
Yes, hemp fiber is THAT strong.
Hemp fabric is made from the bast fibers in the stalk. It is naturally hard-wearing and sturdy. More than any natural fiber.
This indomitable strength can be attributed to the following factors:
- High cellulose density
- Maximum fiber length
- Low presence of lignin
Medical textiles like that are reused can benefit greatly from this property. Cotton bedsheets, pillowcases, curtains, uniforms, etc need to be washed and changed multiple times. Over time they get weaker. Holes and rips are common. Soon they end up in the dumpster.
If made of hemp, it will take thrice the time before any fabric makes its way to the landfill. That makes a big difference. As you can imagine, if you use something three times longer, you will produce that much less waste.
And that is just a single instance. Even at such a microscopic level that is a huge change.
- It Lasts So Long You’ll Forget When You Bought It
No really, hemp fabric would last you ages!
Medical textiles made of hemp fabric would stand the test of time. That translates to low expenses on replacement, lesser effort on maintenance, greater return on investment, and less waste production. What else can you ask for?
Apart from its strength, other factors also add to the longevity of hemp. Let’s take a look at some:
- Fading – Hemp retains dyes very well. Dyed hemp fabric remains vibrant even after years of use.
- Elongation – Due to the low presence of lignin, hemp fabric isn’t stretchable. Thanks to its low elasticity, hemp fabric doesn’t shrink or expand with wash. It can be washed repeatedly in all possible ways. It won’t lose shape.
- Heat resistance – Heat does not affect hemp. Fabric remains the same even after prolonged exposure to sunlight.
- UV resistance – Natural fibers and lignin present in hemp fibers absorb UV rays. It protects skin from harmful UVA and UVB rays. Hemp fabric has a 50+ UPF rating.
- Blend ability – Easy blending with all natural and synthetic fibers. Fabrics with varying properties can be attained. That means a wider range of applications.
- Degradation – There is no fiber degradation with hemp. Articles made of hemp fiber only get softer with wash.
- All Pests And Bacteria Keep Away From Hemp
You will never see hemp fabric rot. This is because of its high resistance to microbes that cause mold, mildew, and rot.
Fabric processed from hemp plants retain hemp’s antibacterial properties. Cannabinoids, alkaloids, other bioactive compounds, or phenolic compounds of lignin contribute to this antibacterial character.
Cotton, on the other hand, can host bacteria and fungi for weeks.
Infections and allergies are common in hospitals. The wrong choice of fabric is to blame.
Here’s how hemp fabric properties can help:
- Hemp battles against pathogenic bacteria. It fights the growth and spread of disease-causing agents.
- It won’t cause any allergies. Due to the presence of little to no artificial allergens and irritants, hemp fabric is hypo-allergenic.
The antibacterial properties of hemp are useful everywhere in the medical industry.
I can’t stop thinking about the innumerable applications.
Furniture in hospitals and healthcare centers, surgical gowns, caps, masks, cover cloths, drapes, bedding, medical wipes, bandages—the list is endless.
- Breathable Material That Lets Air Pass
Wearing hemp clothing feels light as a breeze.
That is important in the medical industry where doctors and other staff might have to pull 12hours+ shifts. Uniforms that let your body breathe are necessary.
Woven hemp fiber has reasonable thermal retention and superior breathability. This results in hemp’s paradoxical fabric property.
Hemp fabric keeps you warm in winter and cool in summer.
I am surprised too. It’s as if hemp was born to be worn.
- Wicks Moisture Like A Pro
Hemp is thirsty for your sweat.
Hemp fiber’s moisture absorption and retention capacity is no joke. It is considerably higher than cotton. And it is all thanks to hemp’s porous nature. Water—or any other fluid for that matter—is trapped well in the fibers.
Because of its moisture-wicking properties, hemp fabric is not just great for hospital clothing but also for a variety of uses. Towels, sanitary napkins, diapers, bandages, and wipes could all use this property.
It won’t just replace cotton. Hemp will do the job better.
- 100% Biodegradability Means 0% Pollution
Hemp takes “from dust thou art to dust returnest,” seriously.
In its most natural form, hemp decomposed completely in two weeks. And unlike other toxic degradable substances, hemp won’t ruin the soil. You can’t ask for a more sustainable fabric than that.
Hemp doesn’t add to the global waste crisis.
When used as a medical textile, hemp can significantly lessen the climate footprint of healthcare. Hemp textile once disposed of disintegrates without a trace.
If you ask me, that just seals the deal on the question of sustainability.
Hemp Is Ready To Do Its Bit. Are You?
Sustainability in the medical field is not a choice anymore. It is a necessity.
With the rising global waste crisis, it is essential to keep a check on waste generated by the smallest of our choices.
To say that selection of all textiles used in the medical industry globally is a “small choice”, would be a travesty. The gravity of this decision is huge. It can change the course of the future of this planet.
So why are we reluctant to make such a big difference?
Nature has already given us this magical crop. Hemp is ready to serve our purposes without harming the environment. Manufacturers and suppliers like us, are also ready to create any hemp product you desire.
So what are you waiting for?