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Hemp plastics continue to roll through the market


Hemp plastics could reduce oil demand and cut the amount of plastic in the ocean. Source: Wikimedia Commons

A new wave of hemp bioplastic products have emerged on the American scene as the country has grown more comfortable with newly-legalized industrial hemp.


Despite the surge in economic growth that has flowed toward CBD oils and related products, hemp’s centuries-long history has been in industrial applications. Whether they are used in 3D printing or cutting down on nonrenewable waste, hemp plastic substitutes have emerged as a powerful new frontier for innovation based on the crops.


According to reporting from UPI, 3D-printing has become possible with hemp plastic substitutes in recent months. [1]


North Dakota State University associate professor and cannabis Chad Ulven told UPI that newfound methods of creating hemp bioplastics allow the substances to be used in injection molding and 3D printing applications alike. [1]


Ulven runs a hemp bioplastics company called c2Renew. [1]


Using compost and agricultural byproducts, the hemp composites are also far more sustainable than popular single-use plastics. Often, the single-use plastic waste is even recycled to create hemp versions.


Ron Basak-Smith, CEO of Sana Packaging in Denver, told UPI that hemp alternatives to common plastic waste could do wonders for the environment. [1]


“Because of the ability to [easily] produce plastics, we got ourselves into single-use disposable culture, and that has caused a dysfunctional system,” he said. [1]


The Hemp Gazette is quick to point out that the historical connections to hemp plastics are more substantial than one might imagine. Henry Ford even created a prototype hemp-plastics automobile in 1941 when metals were being requisitioned for the war effort. [2]


150 tons of plastics are also floating in the globe’s oceans, Hemp Gazette reports, a number that could reach 950 metric tons by 2050. [2]


Industries with skin in the game of plastics use have also taken notice. Produce packaging trade magazine, the Packer, recently featured a column on what possible steps could be taken to reduce the impact of single use vegetable and fruit bags and plastic bags at grocery checkouts. [3]


You guessed what the author, Tom Karst, came up with: Hemp.


According to Karst, hemp bags are biodegradable in as few as 90 days, giving them a major advantage over their petroleum-based counterparts. [3]


“Plastic use must decrease and it would be great to see the produce industry be the leader on this,” Mick Heatherington of Prophet North America told the Packer. [3]


Sources

[1] https://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2020/02/24/Products-made-from-hemp-based-plastics-enter-consumer-market/8661582241399/

[2] https://hempgazette.com/industrial-hemp/bioplastic-hemp/

[3] https://www.thepacker.com/article/mulling-future-packaging

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