Hemp can save the forests

A portion of the Amazon chopped to pieces

Want to help save our forests?

Take this into consideration:  The pulp and paper industry is the fifth largest consumer of energy.

40% of office paper ends up at a landfill. 93% of the world paper is still coming from wood. (1)

The pulp and paper industry use more water to produce one ton of product then any other industry.

Adding insult to injury, the vast amounts of chemicals such as chlorine and dioxins used in converting trees in to paper generates enormous air and water pollution.

Hemp paper with a pen upon it

We North Americans sure like to use a lot of paper.

Some year 2000 statistics from the Bureau of International Recycling and World Consumption showed North Americans used 323 kilograms per capita, with Europeans using 125 kilograms.

The world’s per capital consumption was 53.8 kilograms per capita.  Environment Canada puts our usage at 6 million tonnes of paper and paperboard, although I don’t know what year this number was taken. Only 1/4 of it is recycled.

A lot of trees can be saved by recycling and switching to hemp paper products.

A quick calculation based on the stats above shows us we’re just throwing away 4.5 millions tonnes of paper in Canada, that’s over 68 millions trees per year. That’s just Canada.

A few sheets of handmade hemp paper

Can we afford this?

Every ton of recycled paper saves 17 trees, putting it in perspective, it takes 75,000 tree to print the Sunday edition of the New York Times. (2)

When we look to alternatives and see that one acre of hemp produces as much cellulose as 4 acres of trees it makes sense to get moving. (1)

It has been estimated that 17 - 21 million acres of hemp would be required to meet U.S. demands of 54 million metric tons of raw materials to replace wood pulp and paper.

This represents roughly 1% of available farmland. (3)

From a raw materials perspective then, between hemp and recycling, not another tree need be cut down so we can wipe our bum or scribble down our grocery list.

According to hempfarm.org, small specialty mills can convert to hemp paper production without a lot of expense and difficulty, but large scale paper mills would need to retool 40-60% of their equipment. (4)

A hemp rolling paper

That’s a big renovation.

Large operations could recoup their investment in a couple years even with shut down time. And they’d have maximum depreciation write offs for the first couple years on equipment as well.

There is room for the specialty mill market to thrive.

Making hemp paper art

DIY

A video we came across from Elisheva Shalom at Artisan Hemp shows a step by step guide to making hemp paper. It’s well worth the watch, very well done. (5)

The timeless, beautiful art of paper making with hemp dates back to 2nd century China.

It’s wonderful to see it’s still alive and well. Mass producing paper has devalued the craftsmanship and removed us from the impact that deforestation and pollution are having.

Replacing hemp and or recycled paper will be a result of market driven demand. If we demand it, they will make it. I, for one, will be much more conscious where the source of my paper comes from. Kind of like reading the food labels, it pays to know. Hemp can save the planet. I want to do my part.

 

References

(1) http://www.hemphasis.net/Paper/paper.htm

(2) www.id2.ca/downloads/eco-design-paper-facts.pdf

(3) http://www.hemphasis.net/Paper/paper_files/hempvtree.htm

(4) http://www.hempfarm.org/Papers/Hawaiian_Hemp_Report.html

(5) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CVEy14hv3qk