Why is Hemp Considered a Sustainable Fabric for Clothing?
Cotton is a natural fabric, but it requires powerful insecticides and pesticides in the cultivation process. Chemicals eventually leach into the soil and affect the surrounding ecosystem. Besides, cotton cultivation requires large volumes of water which takes a toll on the underground water level. On the other hand, hemp cultivation does not require any chemical substance. It also requires less water and can be produced twice every year. All these factors collectively make hemp a sustainable fabric for the environment.
Advantages of Hemp Clothing for the Consumer
- Hemp is a very durable fiber which makes it an excellent choice for making a wide range of organic textiles.
- Hemp is mold and microbe-resistant; hence it can last for an extended period.
- Even after regular washing, hemp fabric shows minimal wear and tear.
- Hemp fabric never requires dry cleaning; also, there are not many creases seen on the material.
- Hemp fabric is a suitable material for making anti UV clothing.
Benefits of Hemp Clothing for the Environment
There are times when people use clothes so much that they degrade entirely. In such cases, throwing away hemp clothing is much safer as it is 100% biodegradable. Fabrics like nylon and polyester are non-biodegradable and sit in landfills for several years. Using hemp clothing is their environmental consciousness and using organic materials is the responsibility of every consumer.
- On the same amount of land, cultivators can grow 3 times more hemp fiber than cotton. It also requires less water and chemical substances, making it suitable for the ecosystem.
- Extensive use of insecticides and pesticides is a common agricultural practice. However, the chemicals leech and linger in the soil and eventually mix with the groundwater. It causes contamination of surrounding water bodies. Cultivation of chemical-free hemp is a significant advantage for the environment.
- At present, the world is facing an acute shortage of resources. Hemp fabric is categorized as sustainable clothing, and it also has a wide variety of uses.
- Hemp seeds are known for their medicinal and antioxidant properties. The hemp plant has several uses in its entirety.
- Another notable feature of hemp is that it grows very quickly. According to cultivators, hemp grows twice as fast as cotton. As a result, it requires fewer resources and water before harvesting. Moreover, hemp plants can be harvested twice every year, which makes them sustainable plants. It is also beneficial for the farmers.
- Even though hemp grows well in moderate climates with high moisture, it can be cultivated almost anywhere in the world. It makes hemp fiber locally available to people belonging to various regions.
- The hemp plant replenishes the soil in which it grows. Besides, it also helps in protecting the top layer of the earth from erosion. The replenishing property of the hemp plant eliminates the need for soil rotation. It saves a lot of money, time, and effort for the cultivator.
- Another notable characteristic of the hemp plant is that it removes all toxic materials from the soil. It naturally cleanses the soil and eliminates unwanted contaminants and pollutants from the soil.
What is the Cost of Hemp Fabric?
The cost of manufacturing a fabric is roughly the same as cotton. Several market factors have increased the prices of this fabric. For example, cotton is produced in a much larger quantity than hemp. As a result, it is much cheaper per volume. Also, there is a novelty associated with hemp fabric, and some retailers charge a premium for hemp-based textile.
On the other hand, producing hemp fiber is much simpler and more efficient than cotton cultivation. These factors would likely lower the cost of hemp fabric. However, until the regulatory constraints for hemp cultivation are relaxed, it will not be widely accepted as cotton. Retailers will continue to charge unreasonable prices for hemp textiles.
Different Types of Hemp Fabric
At present, there is only one significant variety of hemp fabric. However, the final product's quality, texture, and feel may vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. Production of hemp fabric involves the same procedure throughout the world. The final product is a lot stronger than cotton but is equally soft and comfortable. Hemp fabric is very durable and can last for decades.
The production of hemp fabric is environmentally sustainable. Humans have produced hemp fabrics for thousands of years without causing any significant damage to the ecological balance. However, large-scale production of hemp fabric may involve modern agricultural practices in the long run. Cultivators may not be able to meet the demands of sustainable cultivation and manufacturing processes. The hemp plant has several naturally producing properties that would help lower the adverse effects on nature.
According to studies conducted in the year, 1998 researchers found that the production of hemp requires lesser water and resources. Also, it releases lesser volumes of toxic substances into the soil and surrounding ecosystem. Hemp is categorized as a carbon-negative raw material as it absorbs more carbon than it releases. Production of this crop requires no chemical pesticides or herbicides. Cultivation of hemp requires more nitrogen than cotton.
Hemp Based Paper
Hemp can be combined with other composite materials for making various items. It is used for making skateboards, fast food containers, and even the body of a stealth fighter. Hemp provides four times more pulp in every acre than trees. The hemp fabric’s cellulose level is almost three times that of wood, making it a perfect choice for manufacturing on paper. Besides, it also requires a lesser amount of chemicals to process the pulp into paper. The by-product obtained in the process is also less harmful to the environment. Hemp-based paper is free from chlorinated compounds.
Researchers have found that growing hemp fiber is relatively cheaper than wood. The hemp plant is known for its long and durable fibers, and it allows hemp to be recycled almost 7 times. On the other hand, conventional paper can be recycled only three times. The best part is hemp-based paper is naturally acid-free and can last for 1500 years. Wood-based paper only lasts for 100 years.
Hemp’s low lignin content is beneficial for making acid-free paper. The bleaching process requires hydrogen peroxide, which is less harmful to the environment. Chlorine used in bleaching wood-based paper poses a serious health risk to fishes in the surrounding water bodies.
There are several reasons to promote the production and use of hemp clothing. Most importantly, it is an eco-friendly fabric that causes minimal damage to the environment. Now the readers know the benefits of the hemp plant and how it is beneficial for them. Hemp is not only good for the consumers but also the earth. By accepting the use of hemp fabric, one can become part of a sustainable movement to better the world. Hemp is rightly called a magic crop. Hence switching to hemp fabric total over conventional crops of clothing makes total sense.