Leading hemp companies in the world are innovating everyday to create more products from this wonder crop.
Hemp paper refers to varieties of paper produced exclusively from or mostly from the fibers and pulp of hemp. Also known as industrial hemp, this is the non-narcotic variety of the Cannabis Sativa plant species. This multifaceted plant has been in human use from nearly 10,000 years ago.
With its tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content limited to 0.3 percent or less, hemp does not have the psychoactive effects of its narcotic cousin. The high THC content of 7.5 to 10 percent or higher gives drug cannabis or marijuana its mind-altering capacity.
History of Hemp Paper
A people’s history project by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) informs us that the Chinese were the first to produce paper entirely from the pulp of hemp fibers way back in 150 BCE. That is nearly 2,200 years ago. That is believed to be the first paper ever produced.
The photograph below shows bits of wrapping paper recovered from the tomb of Wu Di at Baqiao city in the Shaanxi district of northwestern China. Wu Di, originally named Liu Che, was an autocratic Han emperor who died in 87 BCE, which is more than 2,100 years ago.
The first paper mills appeared in China and the Middle East in the 700s CE. Initially, people operated the mills, until the use of animals and water became the norm. The Arabs adopted the technology of hemp paper production in 900 CE.
The use of hemp paper spread to Europe in the 13th century CE. The first copies of the Bible famously known as Gutenberg’s 42-line Bible were printed on hemp paper, says the 2017 book Cannabis Sativa L. – Botany and Biotechnology.
The first drafts of the American Declaration of Independence were written on hemp paper in 1776. In fact, it was common to use hemp paper until the chemical process of producing paper from wood pulp was invented in the 19th century.
Large scale mechanical wood pulping for paper got invented in Germany in the 1840s. Prior to that, a well equipped State Paper Printing House got established in Russia. It included a paper mill founded in 1818, says a book on Russian history. This mill mostly produced hemp paper.
Paper produced at the Goznak mill of St Petersburg got used for banknotes, bonds, credit bills, postal stamps, stamped paper, and other products needing watermarked paper.
Hemp Paper: Current Situation
A recent report in Business Wire estimates the size of the industrial hemp market in 2019 to be US$ 4.6 billion. The projection is that it will grow to US$ 26.6 billion by 2025, developing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 34 percent.
Hemp fibers will dominate the market during this period, says this report. The two major products from hemp fibers during the projected period will be hemp textile and hemp paper. A different report predicts that the hemp fiber market will grow at a CAGR of 5.2 percent until 2023.
The market value of hemp fibers will be US$ 260 million by 2023. The precise market share of hemp paper is not readily available. However, it is a product that is part of the overall hemp fiber market.
Types of Hemp Paper and Its Advantages
Hemp paper gets produced from both the long bast fibers and short hurds or pulp of hemp plants. Hemp hurd is the inner woody core of hemp stalks. However, paper produced from the bast fibers is thin, tough, and rough. However, it is also brittle.
Paper produced from hemp hurds is easier to make. It is softer and thicker and better as a raw material than wood pulp. One acre of hemp can produce as much paper as four to 10 acres of trees over a period of 20 years.
Hemp can produce more paper as its cellulose content is much higher than wood. Cellulose is the main source of paper. Trees contain about 30 percent cellulose and need chemical treatment for the removal of 70 percent of non-cellulose content. Hemp, in contrast, contains 85 percent cellulose.
Hemp stalks are ready for use within four months of sowing the seeds whereas a tree needs a minimum of 20 years to be ready for pulping. Hemp paper is more durable than wood paper. It is also considerably more eco-friendly than wood paper.
Top 10 Hemp Companies In The World For Paper
No amount of research could identify the top 10 companies selling hemp paper. One of the reasons is that few companies produce only paper. Companies dealing in hemp fibers produce a range of products, paper being one of them.
China is currently the top country in hemp paper production and supply. Germany, the Netherlands, and the UK are the other countries producing and supplying hemp paper. Rolling paper for cigarettes is what gets supplied most from China.
Innumerable Chinese Companies
Alibaba.com, China’s largest online marketplace is full of companies supplying cigarette rolling paper in bulk. In the US, the TreeFreeHemp Paper Company, a subsidiary of the Colorado Hemp Company is a major player in the hemp paper production industry.
Green Field Paper Company
Located in San Diego, California, has been producing hemp paper products since 1992. Their most popular products are journals and sketchbooks made of hemp paper. They use 25 percent hemp and 75 percent recycled paper to make these.
Green Field also offers customized printing services. Among their clients are Cartoon Network, Chevrolet, Disney, Google, Honda, Sony, and Whole Foods.
Tree Free Hemp Paper Company
Tree Free Hemp Paper Company, a subsidiary of the Colorado Hemp Company, produces everything from business cards to brochures and flyers with hemp paper. Postcards, greeting cards, posters, jackets for CDs and DVDs – this company leads hemp paper usage in a number of items.
This company originated in Europe in 1997 but now operates in Canada and the U.S.A. With its homestead in the Denman Island at British Columbia, Canada, Rawganique is a small family firm that uses only organically grown raw materials. The company is committed to manufacturing only chemical-free products.
This company also produces and supplies a range of hemp paper products starting from holiday cards to envelopes and journals. Many of these products are handmade and most of them get manufactured in the USA using locally grown hemp. Rawanique’s handmade Japanese style Okinawa paper made from 100 percent hemp is produced in Europe.
Hammond Paper Company
Located in Toronto, Canada, this company is a leading supplier of packaging materials manufactured from hemp paper. The key products of the company are paperboards and clipboards.
Hemp Flax Group
With its headquarters in the Netherlands, this company grows hemp in the Netherlands, Germany, and Romania. The company produces a range of hemp-based products including paper.
Based in Oregon, USA, this is another among the best hemp companies in the world. This company produces hemp-based packaging paper. They also manufacture other hemp paper products such as business cards, brochures, and magazine covers.
Quintessential Tips Ltd.
This UK-based company specializes in producing cigarette paper from hemp.
This Indian company based in the northern state of Rajasthan is registered with Europages as the producer and supplier of handmade hemp paper meant for calligraphy and painting.
This is also an Indian company based in the western state of Gujarat. They also produce handmade hemp paper for painting and crafts.
Please understand that we have simply serialized the hemp companies in the world for paper products, mentioned here. Not enough information is available through secondary sources for any kind of ranking.