Paper is a vital commodity for today’s society, and we use it as if the trees we harvest to produce it are grown overnight. It’s estimated that roughly 25% of waste in the average landfill is composed of paper. Over 93% of paper made today is produced from trees. Given the fact that the world’s demand for paper is expected to double by the year 2030, it’s safe to say we must find an alternative to paper from trees immediately. Luckily, with the 2018 Farm Bill Act being passed, industrial hemp and its regenerative agriculture properties might just be what our planet needs to mitigate the damages we’ve inflicted on our forests.
Hemp paper is vastly superior in comparison to tree paper in every aspect. Environmentally speaking, hemp can be recycled up to 8 times, where paper from trees can only be recycled 3 times. Furthermore, trees that are processed into paper take several decades to grow. Hemp can be grown and harvested up to 3-4 times in the proper climate. To cap it all off, one acre of hemp can provide as much paper as up to four acres of trees. Hemp paper has the potential to fill our planet’s paper demand in an efficient, regenerative process.
It almost sounds too good to be true, especially when you consider the fact that hemp paper is not only better for our planet, but its also a much higher quality paper. Where paper from trees is liable to being easily ripped, hemp paper requires significant force to be ripped. It also degrades much slower in comparison to tree paper. For example, one of the earliest drafts of our nation’s declaration was on a piece of hemp paper, and that copy is still in pretty solid shape considering it was made over 240 years ago. Hopefully hemp paper will begin to mitigate the demand for tree paper as farmers throughout the country develop the best ways to grow this fantastic plant for its strong natural fiber. It’s a win-win scenario for the farmers who grow hemp, the consumers who use the paper, and most importantly, our planet.