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How An Average American Can Use Hemp-Based Products To Reduce his/her Carbon Footprint

A carbon footprint is the total amount of greenhouse gas emissions that anything (person, product, event, vehicle) has produced. 

Your carbon footprint is calculated by the estimation of the greenhouse gas emissions caused by your actions and lifestyle. These greenhouse gases contribute to global warming and climate change.

Your choices associated with the fashion and food industry are important. These industries are major contributors to this ugly, indelible carbon footprint. 

Your choices matter. It all matters: the food you eat, the energy you use, the appliances you buy, and the clothes you wear. All these decisions have an impact on your carbon footprint.

In 2007, research was published on AgEon. Fossil fuels linked to U.S. food consumption produce 13.6 percent of all fossil fuel CO₂ emissions economy-wide. You should opt for an alternative, more sustainable diet. The diet can meet all your health requirements. And the food- system energy use could be reduced by as much as 74 percent.

 Your favorite fashion brands are also the second-largest polluter in the world. The fashion industry is responsible for 10% of humanity’s carbon emissions. This is more emissions than all international flights and maritime shipping combined. 

So, the question you should ask yourself, is how do you reduce your carbon footprint? How does America stop or at least reduce the damage it is doing to the planet?

You can start with small steps. Here are some hemp alternatives that you can use to reduce your carbon footprint.

  1. Ask for, look for, clamor for, and crave for… hemp.

Hemp is an environmentally sustainable crop.

A research was led by Hayo van der Werf in 2004. Cultivation of hemp was compared to seven field crops. All these crops were grown under French GAP growing conditions. As low input crops, hemp and sunflower ranked the lowest impact crops. These crops require less water, herbicides, and pesticides.

When you compare hemp with other raw materials it can replace, hemp is clearly the more sustainable choice.

The use of hemp reduces the stress on depleting non-renewable resources. By choosing a hemp product, you also contribute to the reduction of fertilizer and pesticide use. Hemp also reduces soil loss or erosion. 

To adopt a sustainable lifestyle, pick the hemp alternative of your most frequently purchased products. Hemp places less stress on the surrounding environment than most commercially available products. This can furthermore be improved with advances in harvesting technology and breeding. 

  1. Use hempcrete (hemp-based composite material)

Roughly 20% of the US energy-related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions stem from heating, cooling, and powering households. These emissions are the world’s sixth-largest in volume. 

By 2050, the United States will add an estimated 70–129 million residents and 62–105 million new homes. The future, if we don’t change our ways, is bleak. 

Hemp helps. 

You can use hemp biomass in pellet form for direct combustion. This can generate heat in conventional wood stoves in residential areas.

You can use hemp-based composite materials as components of a multi-layer wall plug for concrete, steel, or wood structures. 

Unlike many commercial materials, it does not emit formaldehyde.   

These composite panels are produced by bonding hemp hurds with a novel hybrid organic–inorganic binder. Due to this binding phase, it has a significantly lower environmental impact. 

Hence, pick the hemp alternative. Use it for the insulation of your house. You not only reduce the environmental impact but also protect your health. These additional perks, without having to sacrifice on the quality.

  1. Use Hemp Oil

Use hemp body care products and cosmetics. The high oil content and unsaturated fatty acids make hemp oil desirable in skincare products. 

Instead of biodiesel, you can use hemp oil. Hemp burns like conventional diesel currently with fewer greenhouse gas emissions. Your diesel engine was originally designed to run off of vegetable sourced oils such as soy and hemp oils.

You can also use hemp oil in salad and pasta dressings, as an alternative to margarine and butter. Do not use hemp oil for frying. Cooking hemp oil over high temperature can cause the formation of trans-fatty acids which disintegrate the oil quality.

  1. Use hemp seeds instead of flax seeds

Flax crops require higher inputs, such as fertilizers and pesticides when compared to hemp.

Although flax has better elastic recovery, flax and hemp have comparable mechanical properties. 

Choosing hemp is worth it, as flax is harder on the soil. Flax causes more diseases and pest issues when compared to hemp.

Also, when used as a rotation crop flax can only be grown in the same soil every 5 or 6 years. 

Use hemp food products

Try to consume hemp-based food and hemp seeds instead of the usual food crops.

There is an overproduction of food crops such as cereals, potatoes, sugar beets, and other food staples in North America. 

In this scenario, hemp seeds provide a valuable food product. 

The production of hemp can improve soil conditions for subsequent crops. This can result in increased yields and/or reduced initial inputs. In addition, less agriculturally suitable land can also be used to grow hemp. This hemp can also be used for energy, animal bedding, or construction purposes.

Hence, by purchasing hemp you’re supporting production on land that would otherwise have been labeled as infertile. You also enable the improvement of soil conditions for further cultivation. 

  1. Use hemp as an alternative to wood

In terms of wood industries, hemp’s largest competitors are pulp and paper. 

In North America, concerns over primary forest depletion are justifiably rising. You should share this concern. 

Hemp paper has similar physical properties as hardwood paper. You get to pick sustainability without sacrificing quality.

Hemp contains higher levels of cellulose and lower lignin content than wood. This reduces input and processing expenditure. Additionally, your hemp paper won’t discolor or decompose like wood paper products. 

For building and construction purposes, you can use hemp hurds. The high strength composites

such as fiberboard and flooring, providing similar or properties as the wood

products. 

  1. Use hemp as an alternative to cotton and synthetics

You can find cotton textiles, everywhere. What you might not know is that cotton requires a larger amount of fertilizers than hemp does. Cotton yields less fiber per plant weight than hemp.

Cotton yields only 1/3rd of the amount of fiber produced by hemp per hectare. 

Hemp fibers make superior textile and last longer. Hence, reducing wastage, as you do not need to discard clothes as frequently as with cotton.  As per the Center for Sustainable Systems, for every 10% of waste reduction, you can avoid 1,200 pounds of  CO₂  emissions. 

You should replace Synthetics such as plastic, polyester, nylon, and materials such as fiberglass with hemp-based composites.  

Hemp fibers require lower energy for production than materials like nylon and polyester. 

Fiberglass is non-recyclable and causes severe abrasion to manufacturing equipment. In case of a car accident, glass fibers can splinter. Fiberglass is also known to cause lung damage. 

In comparison, you should use hemp fibers over fiberglass. Hemp fibers have low weight and are cheaper. You also get better impact absorbance and adds noise insulation.

In today’s day and age, the responsibility of sustainability falls on each consumer.

The impact of the deteriorating environmental conditions is being faced by all of us. In this crucial time, each American must strive to reduce their carbon footprint and bring about real change. 

Changes such as abandoning the use of your motor vehicle or leading a no-waste life are hard, and given your fast-paced lives are almost impossible to achieve. However, you can still make a change by adopting a more sustainable lifestyle.

The easiest way to achieve a sustainable lifestyle is by making small changes. We highly recommend that the first step of this change should be to simply look for hemp-based alternatives to your daily commodities. In this way, you create a market for hemp which in turn, encourages other consumers to buy it, as well.

Hemp is environmentally sustainable and due to its versatile properties, you do not have to sacrifice the quality.  

During your next grocery run, make sure to stock up on the hemp-based alternatives.

Sources:

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/01/chart-of-the-day-these-countries-have-the-largest-carbon-footprints/

https://ageconsearch.umn.edu/record/262187/

http://www.vouranis.net/uploads/6/2/8/5/6285823/hemp__sustainability.pdf

https://edition.cnn.com/2019/09/08/us/carbon-footprint-facts-trnd/index.html

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080428120658.htm

https://www.pnas.org/content/117/32/19122

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0378778814002539

https://www.businessinsider.in/slideshows/miscellaneous/the-fashion-industry-emits-more-carbon-than-international-flights-and-maritime-shipping-combined-here-are-the-biggest-ways-it-impacts-the-planet-/slidelist/71640838.cms

https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/es102221h

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