Throwaway culture is thriving in the fast-paced world we inhabit today. Every day we choose convenience over longevity. We are treating the planet similarly as well.
A plastic straw might let us sip a drink effortlessly in the present, but it will make living on Earth formidable in less than a decade.
But plastic is everywhere! How can you possibly escape it? It can’t be that cataclysmal after all! Isn’t it sufficient to simply recycle all the plastic?
And what do you use instead?
Can hemp really replace plastic?
Well, let’s be hasty and satisfy each of your queries then.
Single-Use Plastic Can’t Be That Bad! Or Can It?
After you discard a single-use plastic item, hardly half of it goes into the landfill. The part that doesn’t, takes a tour via land, air, and rivers until it reaches the final destination — oceans.
The plastic that manages to reach the landfill, sits there under the sweltering sun. That is until it breaks up into tiny fragments — microplastic. This sucker is light enough to fly about anywhere and small enough to remain undetected. Not to unsettle you, but it is probably inside you as well.
Now the real question: how pernicious is all this plastic?
- Being made from petrochemicals, plastic harms the environment throughout its lifecycle. The production and incineration generate upwards of 850 million metric tonnes of greenhouse gases. This directly contributes to climate change.
- The plastic that goes to landfills emits methane gas ― one of the prodigious drivers of global warming. More plastic waste equals vaster landfills which cause greater methane emission.
- The worst-hit are the water bodies ― streams, rivers, and oceans. Researchers believe there are 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic debris in the ocean. The number is only rising. Water pollution disbalances the marine ecosystem. It degrades the water quality, due to ocean acidification. Drains and culverts are also blocked, which leads to floods.
- Unassuming marine animals and birds ingest this microplastic. Resultantly, they suffer fatal health issues and die.
It is not unusual to find albatross, sea turtle, and whale corpses, with a stomach full of plastic. Many of these marine species are going extinct. In several cases, plastic entanglement also leads to the demise of these innocent lives. The number is in millions per year.
- In humans, some of the plastic chemicals act as endocrine disruptors. We usually ingest these chemicals through seafood. The effects range from hormonal imbalance and infertility to cancer.
- The plastic goes for processing and recycling, from first-world countries to third-world countries ― southeast Asia to be particular. It renders the land unfit for use and poses lethal health hazards to vulnerable communities.
How About Reduce-Reuse-Recycle? Let’s Bust The Myth.
The three infamous R’s we’ve all read about in school. How effective are they?
About as effective as a bucket of water poured on a house set ablaze.
Here are the facts to put the debate over recycling at rest, once and for all.
- Only 9% of all the plastic in the world has ever been recycled. Of the remaining 91%, 12% is incinerated and 79% accumulates in landfills. Truth is, the production and use of plastic far exceed our capability and resources to recycle them.
- Single-use plastic cannot be recycled. Small items such as straws and cutlery get stuck into the crevices of recycling machinery. Hence recycling centers don’t accept them.
- The majority of throwaway plastic with “recycling” symbols on them can’t actually be recycled. Not all plastic meets the legal standard of recycling, and yet they are marketed as recyclable to coax your conscience.
- Plastic packaging material and containers with branding on them cannot be reused. Hence ginormous amounts of plastic packaging waste are discarded by industries every day.
- Zero-waste efforts to reduce plastic pollution cause minimal impact. As long as corporate polluters continue the global mismanagement of plastic waste, there is not much hope in sight.
But There Is Simply No Alternative To Plastic! Umm.. Ever Thought About Hemp?
The only ‘R’ that can save the planet now, is “replace”. Single-use plastic needs to be jettisoned off the face of the planet expeditiously. And hemp is the only unsurpassable single-use plastic alternative.
That’s right, the plant you were confusing with marijuana can save the planet! Hemp won’t give you a mind-altering acid trip like its infamous cousin, but it can alter our fearsome future.
Hemp doesn’t emit greenhouse gases or pollute the environment in any way. It rather gives back in a way no other natural fiber does. From its production to its processing, hemp is sustainable in every sense of the term.
If we do a quick comparison of single-use plastic vs hemp, you will see the benefits of this magic crop for yourself. Given below, are the pros of hemp as a crop.
- 100% organic natural fiber (biodegradable).
- Takes about three to five months to grow. A lot quicker than all other natural fibers.
- Uses minimal amounts of water thanks to its deep taproots.
- Can grow during all seasons throughout the year.
- Gives a high yield in many kinds of soils. Produces more fiber per acre than trees.
- Uses comparatively way less energy to produce than other crops.
- Takes in more carbon dioxide than generates (carbon negative).
- Replenishes the soil with nutrients.
- Doesn’t require pesticides or herbicides since it is naturally pest and weed resistant.
The environmental impact of hemp production is positive while that of plastic is negative in every way possible. It is the easiest replacement option that nature has handed down to us. Choosing hemp over plastic is a no-brainer at this point.
But how do you use this blessing of a plant in practical use? Let’s see.
Reusable Hemp Bags: An Eco-friendly And Affordable Solution.
Approximately 500 billion single-use plastic bags are used per year by shoppers worldwide. 150 bags for every person on Earth per year. That implicates about a million plastic bags used every minute!
Single-use plastic pollution is a serious issue that needs to be addressed immediately. And hemp bags can contribute significantly in that direction.[source: https://hempfoundation.net/product/hemp-bag-with-coconut-button/ ]
Hemp bags are made of hemp fabric, processed from the crop. Given below are the benefits of hemp as a fabric, that will reflect in every bag made of hemp.
- Extremely durable. Three times higher tensile strength than cotton. Hemp bags will last you for ages.
- Naturally breathable material due to its porous nature. It won’t suffocate any delicate items like fruits and vegetables.
- Absorbs water and dyes very well. Retains color better than any fiber. No issue of harsh fading.
- Holds shape and doesn’t shrink or expand easily. You can wash these bags in any manner and frequency you desire.
- Resistant to mold. 100% hemp bags are anti-bacterial as well. They resist the growth and spread of bacteria and mold.
- Blends easily with other fabrics. Results in a versatile range of hemp bags with multiple fiber blends and their respective properties.
- Loaded with antioxidants. It will never cause a rash or other skin problems.
- Provides ultraviolet (UV) protection. Food and other sensitive items stay safe.
- Wear-resistant. These bags will look new a long time after purchase. No issue of broken handles or holes.
- Affordable price range, since hemp production is both inexpensive and fast as compared to other natural fibers. It will be pricier than plastic, but it is a minuscule one-time investment for a bag you are going to use for years.
At Hemp Foundation We Are Taking A Step Towards Un-Polluting The Planet. Care To Contribute?
Plastic shopping bags are one of the worst culprits of single-use plastic pollution. We buy them every time we go shopping; we discard them just as easily. Just think of the difference it will make if all of us carried sustainable hemp bags instead. No need to use plastic bags again. If we ever discard them, they’ll become one with the environment in a few weeks or months.
Hemp Foundation is a wholesale producer of hemp products, trying to make a difference. We are actively cultivating hemp in the Indian Himalayan Region (IHR). Hemp is a boon for both the local agronomic industry and the economy.
Our hemp bags are made by abjectly poverty-stricken rural women, who are talented and hard-working. In making a purchase of hemp bags, you will be helping them along with the environment.
The gist of the story: choose hemp for a better life for everybody, today and tomorrow.