The controversy in hemp comes because it is a cannabis plant. It is related to the marijuana plant. However, industrial hemp has a low concentration of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the ingredient that causes a high effect. Hemp is a cannabis plant that has low THC concentrations. The plant is safe, but countries that have legalized the cultivation issue license to the farmers. The reason behind that is mainly to avoid misuse. But how can hemp become plastics?
Hemp plastic has the potential to be a solution to some environmental issues. Unlike traditional plastic made from petroleum, hemp plastic is made from the hemp plant’s fibers, renewable resource that grows quickly and requires little water and no pesticides. This makes hemp plastic more environmentally friendly than traditional plastic, often made from nonrenewable resources and can take hundreds of years to decompose.
For many years, petrochemicals have been the raw materials in manufacturing plastics. However, plants are also sources of cellulose that can create biodegradable plastics. Hemp is among the richest sources of the same.
In addition to being more environmentally friendly, hemp plastic has some unique properties that make it potentially valuable for various applications. For example, hemp plastic is lightweight, strong, and durable, making it a good option for car parts, packaging, and building materials.
Henry Ford comes to mind of many people whenever you mention hemp plastics. He was the first person to develop them. If he could figure developing a car with the material, you can imagine its strength. His pictures indicating a model-T and an axe are clear proof of the strength of the fiber composites.
However, it’s important to note that while hemp plastic is a promising alternative to traditional plastic, it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution to all environmental problems. There are still some concerns around the production of hemp plastic, including the energy and resources required to process the raw materials and the potential for land-use competition with food crops.
Hemp Plastics Facts You Should Know
1. The characteristics
Are recyclable and biodegradable. But its eco-friendly property doesn’t dent its sturdiness. The level of stiffness in hemp plastics can be equivalent to that of regular plastic. Besides, it provides good heat, ultraviolet, and dimensional balance. The material is heat resistant, but the most exceptional feature in some of its varieties is that they are also flame-resistant.
2. The practicality
It can be an easy substitute for regular plastics that makes products such as laptop covers, blenders, iron boxes, etc. It is already becoming popular in manufacturing packaging materials and automobile parts.
3. The Specialty
It is among the most robust natural fiber available in the world. While scientists spend days and nights addressing the regular plastics’ ecological harm, an entirely biodegradable material comes. Its durability is several times higher than polypropylene plastic. Besides, it does not threaten the safety and health of the environment and living things.
Types of Hemp Plastics
1. Hemp cellulose
Cellulose is a raw material in the making of paper. It also makes several other products, such as cellophane, celluloid, and rayon.
2. Cellophane, rayon and celluloid
It is possible to extract the three bio-plastics from hemp cellulose. Rayon and cellophane fall in a classification of regenerated cellulose fibers. Celluloid is a product of cellulose nitrate and a plasticizer known as camphor.
3. Hemp-based plastics
Composite plastics consist of reinforcement fibers and polymer matrix. Hemp fibers are reinforcers in composite materials due to their tensile strength. There are also bio-composites, which usually have at least one major organic component.
4. Pure bio-composite materials
Some bio-materials entirely consist of organic substances with hemp as filler material.
The prohibition of cultivation is the major drawback in the full utilization of hemp. Although the legalization of hemp a few years ago in the United States, many other countries still uphold their stringent measures. The many decades of prohibition have led to slow infrastructural development to cultivate and process the plant.