It seems that every day there is an ever-growing focus put on both environmental and economic sustainability for our planet. When you think about it, it comes as no surprise considering that oil is running out and our forests are being cut down three times faster than they can grow. This leaves us asking, “what on earth is going to provide the future of our fuels and energy for the future?”
Population growth inevitably comes with the increased demand for fuels and materials. Wood, cotton and synthetic materials are just a few that have faced huge supply challenges in the wake of a growing population. Petroleum and gasoline are getting more expensive by the day, and are running out just as quickly.
The need for alternative, renewable sources of fuel and materials is undeniable. Current trends suggest that the consumption rates we are contributing to today are unsustainable and unhealthy for both the planet and for ourselves.
Industrial hemp is one such alternative. Below is a closer look at how Industrial Hemp will change the face of the environment and economy forever:
Paper and fibre
· Compared to the average tree plantation, a crop of hemp the same size will yield four times the raw fibre for production.
· The time it takes for a hemp crop to mature and be cultivated is between three and four months. It can take a plantation of trees up to 20 years to mature adequately for cultivation.
· Tree paper can only be recycled a maximum of four times. Hemp paper can be reused up to seven times.
· Hemp paper is organic, containing no unnatural chemicals. That’s 20,000 less than regular tree paper.
· Hemp crops are resilient. They require no harmful pesticides to ward off weeds, because they outgrow them.
· One acre, or ten tonnes of hemp plantation can yield the equivalent to a thousand gallons of methanol, one of the primary sources of automobile fuel.
· Ethanol, a natural, plant-sourced fuel, is currently used in conjunction with regular petroleum to power our cars at levels of 10%. However, some cars are already capable of using 85% ethanol fuel, which is also found in many rocket fuels.
· Diesel fuel is actually much more environmentally friendly than regular petroleum and gasoline. Ethanol and methanol are both easy to naturally source, are renewable and environmentally safe, and are being implemented for as bio-diesel fuels in the coming years.
· Hemp can be combined with diesel fuel to create a more renewable and environmentally safe fuel source. However, hemp itself can also be produced into a fuel on its own.
· Hemp as a biodiesel fuel emits only 20% of the harmful carbon dioxide of regular fuel and almost no sulphur dioxide into the atmosphere.
· As a result, emissions from hemp fuel will have an insignificant impact on carbon output and climate change.
· The burning of hemp fuel does not contribute to any form of acid rain.
· Hemp is just as biodegradable as common sugar, and contains the toxicity of ten times its weight in salt, rendering it harmless.
What benefits will Hemp hold for our economy:
· Hemp was once considered the backbone of the US economy. As one of the most economically and environmentally viable resources in Australia (exemplified by its use in over 30,000 consumer products), its introduction into mainstream production could have a similar effect on the Australian economy. Thousands of job opportunities could be created through greater investment in the hemp industry. Recent layoffs within companies such as Blue Scope Steel could be offset by the jobs created by planting, cultivating and processing industrial hemp.
· Hemp could be used extensively to produce flour, oils, and other food sources. Therefore, thanks to its nutritional value and versatility, the jobs created in the food industry would be similar to that of the ones created in the Industrial workforce.
· Finally, the introduction of more biodiesel fuel incorporating hemp would bolster the local economy and remove the large dependence Australia has on foreign fuel sources.
EcoFibre is Australia’s leading company behind promoting the future of hemp in this country and across the globe. Along with many other companies such as Hemcore in the United Kingdom, EcoFibre stress the economic and environmental benefits that hemp can provide, whilst aiming to raise awareness and dismiss harmful misconceptions. Have a look at their website to find out more!
Accompanying EcoFibre in the fight to raise awareness of hemp’s benefits globally is ForeverGreen. Based in Utah in the US, ForeverGreen has been operating for over seven years, striving for ‘global wellness’. ‘Versativa’, the name given to their hemp movement, works hard to spread the message of hemp and its health and nutrition benefits to the world. ForeverGreen is at the forefront of promoting these messages of wellbeing and how hemp can help.