Is sustainable paper an oxymoron? No more!

All of us tend not to think much about where the paper we regularly use in our lives; in notebooks, office printer trays comes from. Paper, in all its various forms, affects the environment in a drastic manner. That’s because traditional paper is made from wood pulp. That pulp comes from freshly cut trees; around 16 percent are farmed, according to the Ecology Global Network. Cutting wild trees for paper production poses obvious problems like deforestation, soil erosion, landslide and including loss of habitat for the wildlife. But we seem to pay very less attention to that, don’t we?

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The Alternative — Sustainable Tree Free Paper

Sustainability isn’t just about the environment, even though that is an enormous part of it. To be truly sustainable, ecological, social, and economic sustainability must work together. The best sustainability model is initially earth-friendly. From that point onward, it addresses the issues of society and the economy. Recycling is something worth being thankful for, even with its problems. However, there are different ways to create a sustainable paper model and yet make high-quality paper that addresses the issues of alarming concerns about environmental pollution. Hemp fibres naturally make high-quality paper without chopping down old-growth forests or even FSC certified forests that are so important to our ecosystem. Hemp Paper is an important alternate to the conventional papers, which are mostly produced by cutting trees. To make normal paper, we have to cut trees which are decades old, use harmful chemicals and waste lots of water. Hemp presents to us a smart, renewable and sustainable source to make papers. The first paper on our planet was made from Hemp. Hemp is very suitable for paper as it has higher cellulose. White Hemp Paper has been used since long time. During 1900s Hemp was banned throughout almost entire world. In 2018 US farm Bill legalized cultivation of Hemp and now the same is being followed all across the world.

A few benefits of hemp paper are:-

  • Sustainable
  • Recyclable
  • Finest quality, Smooth and Rich in texture
  • Biodegradable
  • Bright and White Raw Surface
  • Extremely durable
  • Organic and Eco-friendly
  • Pure and Chemical free
  • Better print quality

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Costing of Hemp Paper

Production costs are higher than for paper from wood since the infrastructure for using hemp is in the developing stage. For the most part, hemp paper is used for specialty applications and not for mass applications such as printing, writing and packaging paper. However with the civil society’s intervention in environment field, hemp paper will soon be seen in the mainstream. If the paper industry were to switch from wood to hemp for sourcing its cellulose fibres, the following benefits could be utilized to offset the cost differential:

· Hemp yields three to four times more usable fibre per hectare per annum than forests and hemp doesn’t need pesticides or herbicides.

· Hemp has a much faster crop yield. It takes about 3–4 months for hemp stalks to reach maturity, while trees can take between 20 to 80 years. Not only does hemp grow at a faster rate, but it also contains a high level of cellulose. This quick return means that paper can be produced at a faster rate if hemp were used in place of wood.

· Hemp paper does not require the use of toxic bleaching or as many chemicals as wood pulp because it can be whitened with hydrogen peroxide. This means using hemp instead of wood for paper would provide significant environmental benefits by ending the creation of chlorine or dioxin runoff.

· Hemp paper can be recycled up to 8 times, compared to just 3 times for paper made from wood pulp.

· Compared to its wood pulp counterpart, paper from hemp fibres resists decomposition and does not change colour easily. It is also one of the strongest natural fibres in the world- one of the reasons for its longevity and durability.

· Several factors favour the increased use of wood substitutes for paper, especially agricultural fibres such as hemp. Deforestation, particularly the destruction of old growth forests, the world is decreasing supply of wild timber resources and are today major ecological concerns. Hemp’s use as a wood substitute will contribute to preserving biodiversity as well.

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PLANET GREEN is an online platform to promote various innovative products made from sustainable, natural and environment friendly fabrics.