As the world shifts to a more environmentally-conscious attitude where sustainability is at the forefront, more and more people are using hemp as a natural alternative to the materials we wear and use everyday. Hemp is a plant derived from the cannabis family (but no, hemp and marijuana definitely aren’t the same thing!) that, when processed, can be used to create all sorts of products from cooking alternatives like oil and flour; clothing, shoes and accessories; body lotion (holla, Hempz!) and shampoo/conditioner; paper and stationery; and so much more. But it’s nothing new: hemp was used up until the 1820’s to create the majority of textiles and fabrics, rope, canvas, and linens.
Apart from not being laden with pesticides like other crops (which makes it a lot cheaper to mass produce, and much less toxic), hemp’s environmental footprint is significantly smaller than that of other fibres like cotton and wood. It grows in abundance, needs considerably less water, and can thrive in all sorts of climates. It’s also 100% biodegradable, reusable, and recyclable, and can even help combat global warming.
Growing hemp, if replacing other crops, can actually reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This is because when grown, it produces biomass fuels: a clean alternative to fossil fuels that doesn’t emit carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. According to the Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance, hemp “takes out large amounts of carbon dioxide per acre, more than most plants,” especially if the products are used in things like building materials. It’s the #1 producer of biomass per acre in the world – and we could literally meet all of Canada’s fossil fuel demands with just 1-4 million acres of it (Lynn Osburn, biomass energy expert).
Aside from the environmental benefits, many people prefer hemp fabric over its counterparts because it’s warmer, incredibly absorbent, is easily dyed, odor-resistent, anti-bacterial, and breathes well. It’s also classified as the strongest natural soft-fibre on earth.
Hemp products are becoming more widely available everyday. According to a market research report conducted by Grand View Research, the global industrial hemp market size was estimated at $3.9 billion in 2017, and approximately 36 countries are now growing industrial hemp.
Incorporating hemp into your life is as simple as switching out your favourite clothing item, pair of sunglasses or face wash: and it’s a change you can make as a consumer that you’ll feel really good about. We love it, the planet loves it, and you’ll find yourself loving it too.