Hemp Plant Uses, It Will Take Time to Replace Competitors: Here’s Why
Estimated 3-minute read
Hemp has a reputation for being an extremely versatile plant. On the internet it seems to be the solution to all the environmental and social problems we face as humanity. And there are solid and irrefutable arguments that add value to the hemp industry.
First, it is much more environmentally friendly than one of its closest competitors, the paper industry. An industry that makes an intense use of means of transportation that leave a high carbon footprint, by generating a large amount of air and water pollutants. It is also one of the activities that emits the most greenhouse gasses, around 6.7 pounds of CO2 for each pound of paper.
According to Greenpeace each year about 15 million trees are lost due to the paper industry and 40% of wood for industrial use is used in the manufacture of paper and derivatives. The substitution of wood for hemp seems to be the best alternative since hemp is a much more suitable plant for paper production due to its high cellulose content (up to 85% against 30% of trees). Many affirm that hemp can be used in more than 25,0000 products, being able to replace oil and its derivatives from industries from textiles to construction.
The equation for a better world seems pretty easy, and many of us wonder why the governments are taking so much in making the necessary changes to replace everything with hemp. However, a very important principle of the economy is not taken into account, people face dilemmas. These dilemmas emphasize that in order to make decisions, one thing is chosen and another is sacrificed, since resources are very limited.
For example, it is true that hemp consumes between 25% and 50% less water than cotton. However, it is not simple to change one fiber crop for another. Hemp requires a lot of energy and money to produce a soft cloth. The long fibers of hemp are processed differently than the short fibers of cotton. As we mentioned, resources are scarce, the industry faces the dilemma of renewing its machinery to make the change. The opportunity cost of producing hemp on a large scale would be an important decrease in cotton. The production possibilities frontier will not tilt to a product that is not yet so socially accepted and, in this case, compared to cotton, production will require changes and more expenses.
There is no doubt that hemp is a better option, it is easy to grow and cyclically speaking, more profitable than trees. Hemp´s ability to remove toxins from the soil is also promising. If it is grown under suitable conditions, it should not be treated with herbicides due to its rapid growth. And as if that were not enough, hemp contains cannabinoids and terpenes, compounds that help repel insects.
Hemp is there, unfortunately, as in the case of cotton, the production of hemp plastic, hemp concrete and many other solutions progress slowly due to the opportunity cost that exists to produce them. Either is one or the other, talking about the competitors of hemp, resources are scarce and we choose what is cheapest to produce and easiest to sell. But check this out if you are looking for a hemp-based product to spend a good time while taking care of the environment.
Innovation is the engine of well-being, so we must focus on simplifying processes and operational costs so that hemp can be operated at our convenience so excuses and hypotheses as to why it cannot be will be eliminated and people begin to use hemp as the most profitable item.
Unfortunately, hemp is a plant that was absent for practically the entire 20th century and that is why it is left behind and disadvantages other resources. Only through studies and innovation can change the course of the economy towards a more sustainable economy.
How long do you think it will take the government to decide to build hemp-based housing projects?