Ministry of Hemp

Ministry of Hemp

America's leading advocate for hemp

Tag: hemp sustainability

Waste Not, Want Not: Recycling Hemp & Cannabis Bio-Waste

As the hemp industry booms, it will inevitably product more waste. We looked at two startups recycling hemp and cannabis waste into useful products.

In a world of increasing pollution, two startups are trailblazing new techniques to reduce waste by recycling hemp.

The community based around hemp is famous for its holistic approach to life. Hemp advocates care about living cleanly, reducing their environmental impact, and trying to reduce waste as much as possible.

Industrial hemp is now fully legal in the United States thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill. As a result, we can expect the hemp industry to grow and produce more waste. Companies like 9Fiber and Kindness 3D see this as an opportunity.

Previously, we reported on Sana Packaging, who use hemp to create sustainable packaging for the recreational cannabis industry. 9Fiber and Kindness 3D differ in that they’re recycling hemp and cannabis waste after it’s produced. They’re helping reduce pollution and helping their fellow human beings at the same time.

9FIBER: RECYCLING HEMP STALKS & FIBER INTO USEFUL PRODUCTS

9Fiber, based out of Silver Spring, Maryland are an agricultural technology company focused on recycling hemp stalk and stem waste. This startup takes hemp bio-waste that’s been put aside by other companies and processes it into raw materials that can be used to make a variety of products.

First, 9Fiber decontaminates any biowaste from federally illegal substances, removing the THC. Next, they process the waste further by removing fiber from the hurd, which is the woody core of the hemp plant. Then, the fiber undergoes final processing before it becomes usable for production. With the recycled fiber and gum-free hurd, 9Fiber is able to make paper, rope, textiles, fuel, bioplastics, fiberglass, hempcrete, and even livestock bedding.

In November, the Colorado Advanced Industries Accelerator Grant Program gave 9Fiber a $250,000 grant. The process to get the grant was a lengthy one, as many startups. With this new funding, 9Fiber plans to expand their operations into Pueblo, Colorado in late 2019. Hopefully, this grant can also help 9Fiber scale with the inevitable boom in hemp production. With the recent passing of the 2018 Farm Bill, 9Fiber’s future is looking bright.

A cluster of stringy hemp fiber separated out from the rest of the plant, photographed against a plain white background. 9Fiber is recycling hemp by separating out the hemp fibers and woody core (hemp hurd). After processing, 9Fiber can reuse these materials in hemp plastic, hempcrete, animal bedding and more.

9Fiber is recycling hemp by separating out the hemp fibers and woody core (hemp hurd). After processing, 9Fiber can reuse these materials in hemp plastic, hempcrete, animal bedding and more.

Adin Alai, 9Fiber’s CEO, told us, “our main goal is to create an entire circular economy.”

While the hemp industry inevitably produces waste, companies like 9Fiber can use that waste to produce other products. Not only is Mr. Alai passionate about his startup, but he believes that the cannabis industry has the potential to be a leading zero-waste industry.

KINDNESS 3D PRINTS PROSTHETIC LIMBS FROM CANNABIS WASTE

Meanwhile, up north in Nova Scotia, Canada, a prosthetic limb production company recycles plastic waste from local psychoactive cannabis (“marijuana”) shops. After Canada legalized recreational use of marijuana, there has been a dramatic increase in plastic container waste. Based out of Halifax, Kindness 3D turns plastic packaging from psychoactive cannabis products into prosthetic limbs.

A student tries out a 3D-printed grabber hand at a school in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Kindness 3D takes plastic waste from recreational cannabis containers and turns them into prosthetic limbs.

A student tries out a 3D-printed grabber hand at a school in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Kindness 3D takes plastic waste from recreational cannabis containers and turns them into prosthetic limbs. (Photo: Kindness 3D Facebook)

Starting as a 3D printing enthusiast, Jake Boudreau started Kindness 3D after coming across templates for prosthetic limbs in an online 3D printing community. Since the creation of the non-profit, he’s been able to send hands to a girl in Costa Rica and a woman in Brazil. He aims to not only recycle reusable plastic waste, but to help people who can’t afford the expenses that come along with prosthetic limbs.

Donate to Boudreau’s GoFundMe and check out the Kindness3D Facebook page!

A GREENER FUTURE THROUGH RECYCLING HEMP

As industrial hemp and cannabis legalization spreads around the world, companies like 9Fiber and Kindness 3D fill an important niche. Efforts like these are vital for reducing hemp waste, and to increase the utility of the hemp plant. Hopefully, recycling hemp will become commonplace, and recycled hemp biomass products can become part of our everyday lives.

Hemp’s future is green, in more ways than one.

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Hemp Supercapacitors Bring Green Tech To A Higher Level

Outperforming standard supercapacitors up to 200 percent, hemp-based supercapacitors could be the future of green technology. Hemp could be a key part of making our energy needs more sustainable.

Outperforming standard supercapacitors up to 200 percent, hemp-based supercapacitors could be the future of green technology.

At the Ministry of Hemp, we’re a little biased about our favorite plant in the world: hemp. But it seems like everyday we find newer and better ways that it can be used.

One innovation we recently discovered? Scientists discovered how to use hemp in supercapacitor electrodes. A supercapacitor is the lesser-known alternative to traditional electrical energy storage. Right now, a supercapacitor is the second best option for storing power, after batteries. However, more research could change that.

An illustration of a seemingly infinite number of batteries, with a small cluster rising above the others. A green colored battery is higher than the rest.

Supercapacitors could be the future of energy storage, and hemp supercapacitors could prove even more efficient than other materials.

Below we’ll introduce you to hemp supercapacitors and how hemp could play a part in our energy future.

WHAT’S A SUPERCAPACITY, ANYWAYS?

The most famous form of energy storage is the battery, an object that contains two opposing electrical terminals separated by electrolytes. When you turn on the power, a chemical reaction occurs between the electrolytes and electrodes, producing electric energy for your device. Since batteries rely on electrolyes, and electrolytes wear out, all batteries need to be replaced. In addition, batteries take a very long time to fully charge. Today, we use batteries everywhere; in our phones, laptops, and more recently, our cars.

Capacitors work very differently from the traditional battery. In short, a normal capacitor is comprised of two metal plates and an insulating material between the plates called a dielectric. In a capacitor, positive & negative build up on the plates. Rather than electrolytes, capacitors store electrical energy within the plates.

Supercapacitors on the other hand, are different for two ways. Their plates have a “bigger” surface area and the distance between the plates is much shorter. Supercapacitors are usually coated in a porous substance such as activated charcoal. These coatings are called the “supercapacitor electrodes.”  The electrodes serve as more storage on the plates, giving them more surface area to store electricity. Think of normal non-coated capacitors as mops; which can only absorb so much water, and supercapacitors as sponges, soaking up much more water than its surface area. The website Explain That Stuff published a great explanation of supercapacitors in August.

Unlike batteries, supercapacitors charge almost instantaneously and last much longer than batteries. Their biggest drawback, preventing them from being the popular choice, is the amount of energy that is able to be stored within them. Right now, supercapacitors only store a fraction of the power of a traditional battery, but scientists are working hard to find a way around this problem.

THE MIGHTY HEMP SUPERCAPACITOR

Today’s supercapacitors commonly use graphene, a carbon nanomaterial to create electrodes. But making graphene costs up to $2000 per gram.

In 2013, Researchers at the University of Alberta National Institute for Nanotechnology found a more economical material in hemp. These scientists discovered how to process raw hurds (the plant’s woody core) into activated carbons through hydrothermal processing and chemical activation. The final product is one that’s able to soak up more electricity, providing better energy capacity. The solution produces not only a cheaper material — $5000 per ton — but one that performs up to four times better than graphene. Better yet, the solution uses the hemp stems, the part that is often left unused during other forms of hemp processing. With this, the entire plant is used, and no part is left to waste!

A handful of dried hemp cores, looking a lot like wood chips. Hempcrete building material is one common use for hemp hurds or shivs, the woody core of the plant. Someday, they could be used in hemp supercapacitors too.

Hempcrete building material is one common use for hemp hurds or shivs, the woody core of the plant. Someday, hurds could be used in hemp supercapacitors too.

If this solution can be easily reproduced, it would affect far more than just the electronics industries. Supercapacitors represent a fundamental shift in energy storage. Imagine if every battery powered object used hemp powered instead! It would mean that hemp would be undeniable in its utilitarian value. Remaining anti-hemp governments would be hard-pressed to keep the plant banned from commercial use.

LEGAL HEMP MEANS MORE HEMP RESEARCH

With the passing of the Farm Bill — making industrial hemp a lawful agricultural commodity in the United States — hemp research is ready to take a big leap. Someday, we could be driving hemp-powered cars and using phones that are powered by hemp!

Not only will consumer products change with legal hemp, but if hemp supercapacitors are adapted to a larger scale, we might see a shift in the infrastructure of the entire country. The possibilities for this greener, cleaner, and sustainable crop seem limitless! With legal hemp, countless industries stand to benefit.

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How Hemp Fabric Is Made & Why It’s Better

Hemp fabric could be crucial to creating a more comfortable, more sustainable world. Hemp fabric is softer, stronger, resistant to odor, and protects the wearer from UV rays. It’s also better for the planet.

Hemp fabric could be crucial to creating a more comfortable, more sustainable world.

What would you do if we told you that you could buy a T-shirt that lasts longer, is cheaper, and harms the environment less than your average cotton T-shirt? You’d probably tell us that’s impossible, but you’d be wrong. So very wrong.

That’s because hemp clothing exists, and it has all of those advantages listed above and more.

WHAT MAKES HEMP FABRIC BETTER?

Hemp clothing has numerous advantages.
Patagonia's hemp "Fog Cutter" sweater is perfect for chilly fall days, an example of a durable but comfortable and fashionable hemp fabric.
Hemp fabric is deliciously soft on the skin, and is known for growing softer with each wear. It’s also naturally resistant to bacteria and provides natural UV protection. That means it protects your skin, and retains color better than other fabrics. As you can see, hemp fabric is quite practical. It literally prevents you from getting stinky, gets softer with more use, and is stronger and longer-lasting than cotton.

And it’s not only practical but stylish too. Hemp fashion is a real thing, and there are many companies that produce appealing hemp clothing. To name a few: Hemp Horizon, iLoveBad, and Patagonia’s hemp clothing collection. These companies are producing awesome clothing; clothing that makes us want to drop hundreds of dollars on sweaters and underwear. Just look at Patagonia’s Fog Cutter Sweater, it’s perfect for Michigan’s chilly fall weather.

Style isn’t the biggest upside of hemp, though. The biggest advantage of hemp fabric is its production methods and hemp’s environmental impact (or lack thereof).

HOW DO YOU MAKE HEMP FABRIC?

The production of the clothes that we use everyday aren’t something most people think about. Clothes are simply things that we buy and wear. Most of us aren’t aware of the hyper-complex supply chain systems needed to bring that simple cotton t-shirt to our local Walmart. That sentiment is true of all fabrics, including hemp.

Let’s take a quick dive into how hemp textiles are produced.

A dense field of green bamboo-like industrial hemp stalks grows tall in the summer sunshine. Industrial hemp can be harvested for thousands of uses including hemp fabric.

A dense field of green bamboo-like industrial hemp stalks grows tall in the summer sunshine. Industrial hemp can be harvested for thousands of uses.

Recreator, another hemp brand we love, outlined how hemp fabric is produced:

  1. Cultivation
  2. Harvesting
  3. Retting (The process whereby naturally occurring bacteria and fungi, or chemicals, break down the pectins that bind the hemp fibers to be released. Common techniques consist of soaking in water, or laying on the ground and letting dew do the ‘retting’)
  4. Breaking
  5. Scutching (Beating stems, which separates the desired fibers from the hemp’s woody core)
  6. Hackling (combing of the stems to remove unwanted particles)
  7. Roving (improves strength)
  8. Spinning (can be wet and dry spun)

Recreator explains in more detail, but it’s a labor intensive process. Modern day production methods of hemp are closely related to the traditional methods but done in a much more efficient manner, with the invention of more effective modern equipment. The core principles stand: grow hemp, break it down, separate the fibers, and then spin into a textile.

HOW HEMP FABRIC COMPARES TO OTHER NATURAL FABRICS

How does hemp production compare to other textiles?

Cotton: Cotton is grown in fields, like hemp, and is harvested by cotton harvesters, those big machines that can harvest cotton at a super-human rate. Then, like hemp, cotton is put through a “ginning” process, in which the fibers are separated from the seeds. The fibers are put through multiple processes that further refine them, like scutching, hackling and roving. Once the cotton is ready, it is spun into fabric.

Wool: This material is easier to process, as it takes less steps to reach its final product. One needs to harvest the wool, then process it via techniques called ‘carding’ and ‘combing’ that smooths and refines the wool, and then weave or knit it into the fabric. Although easier to process,  cattle farming creates its own carbon foot print and a great deal of waste. Not only do you have to use energy and water to process wool, but you have to feed, clean, and maintain the sheep. Sheep who produce methane-dense waste and require more resources to survive than a plant.

Folded hemp fabric and hemp rope and string sit in a wooden box, on a wooden table.

Right now, most hemp products in the U.S., including hemp fabric, are imported from China, increasing cost and carbon footprint. That could change with total hemp legalization.

Right now, most hemp products in the U.S., especially outside of CBD oil, are made from imported hemp. This increases both the carbon footprint, or environmental cost of making hemp products, and the final cost that you, the consumer, pay to buy them. We hope that some of this changes as hemp is fully legalized in the U.S. in the near future.

HEMP IS A SUPER PLANT & FABRIC IS JUST THE BEGINNING

While hemp is harvested and processed similarly to other fabrics, its main advantage is through the hemp plant itself.

Hemp uses about 5% the amount of water it takes to grow cotton and can often be rain-fed. Hemp can grow in almost all soil conditions, and unlike cotton (which depletes the soil of nutrients) hemp’s deep-reaching roots preserve the topsoil and subsoil. Hemp grows densely as well, leaving no room for weeds and competing plants and is less vulnerable to insects, which means little to no use of pesticides. Lastly, hemp grows extremely fast, only needing 120-days to be ready for harvest. We’ve compared hemp and cotton before, and while not everyone agrees, we think hemp is the winner.

Don’t forget that we’re only talking about the stalk of the hemp plant, which is the part used to make hemp fabric. The leaves and seeds are used to make hemp oil, hemp fuel, and other products that each have their own benefits.

We’ve come again to a conclusion that we’ve come to many times before: hemp is a super-plant. From its practical uses to environmental sustainability, the hemp plant comes out on top, out-performing all competitors.

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Hemp Horizon Brings Flowing Elegance To Women’s Hemp Fashion

A new UK company is blowing away outdated ideas about women’s hemp fashion. Hemp Horizon offer a diverse range of items, featuring everything from tight-fitting high-necked dresses to more free-flowing outfits with elegant bows.

A new UK company is blowing away outdated ideas about women’s hemp fashion.

Putting aside the health benefits for a moment, how do you feel about clothes made from hemp? You’d be forgiven for thinking that it’s an heavy, course material, mostly popular with hippy-types who favour function over fashion. While most hemp clothing companies trade in little more than simple t-shirts, Hemp Horizon offer a diverse range of items, featuring everything from tight-fitting high-necked dresses to more free-flowing outfits with elegant bows.

Hemp Horizon is redefining women's hemp fashion and spreading awareness about hemp's potential. (Photo: Hemp Horizon hemp culottes and hemp two-tone t-shirt)

Hemp Horizon is redefining women’s hemp fashion and spreading awareness about hemp’s potential. (Photo: Hemp Horizon hemp culottes and hemp two-tone t-shirt)

Their products blend hemp with other organic materials, demonstrating not only its versatility, but also how much hemp production has been refined over recent years.

“Hemp is very much misunderstood,” said Karen Kay, head designer at Hemp Horizon.

“Forty years ago the fabrics made from hemp were crude, and didn’t have the refinement that today’s mills can produce,” Kay told us. “Now, when blended with fine silks and other organic yarns, hemp is soft yet durable.”

Kay works closely with business partner Steve Esser, who looks after marketing. Zoey Kay models the products.

We spoke to Karen Kay about the values behind the brand, the development process, and why hemp is a perfect fit for the future of fashion.

A ‘REVOLUTIONARY MOVEMENT’ IN WOMEN’S HEMP FASHION & HEMP AWARENESS

“[Hemp’s] the perfect choice for high quality, comfortable garments that look great, feel good, and last for years,” Kay said.

This is the most remarkable aspect of Hemp Horizon’s products: the fabric used is light and silky, making for items that wouldn’t look out of place at a luxury high-street store. It’s a far cry from the rough, scratchy hemp-based clothes of yesteryear.

Zoey Kay models the Hemp Horizon hemp silk wrap shirt. Hemp Horizon creates comfortable, elegant women's hemp fashion, and is now expanding into menswear too.

Zoey Kay models the Hemp Horizon hemp silk wrap shirt. Hemp Horizon creates comfortable, elegant women’s hemp fashion, and is now expanding into menswear too. (Photo: Hemp Horizon)

The design philosophy is simple, Kay said. “High quality, flattering and comfortable with a unique design which is unmistakably Hemp Horizon.”

She continued, “Our tag-line is ‘Awareness Is Key,’ as we’d like to be a part of this revolutionary movement around this magnificent plant.”

Of course, the hemp world has its fair share of unscrupulous traders attempting to capitalise on its increased prominence in the mainstream media. Happily, Kay and Esser take an altogether more reputable approach.

“We searched the globe for mills that produce fine hemp-blended fabric, sourcing from China and the USA, and we’re now looking also to source from Eastern Europe to reduce our carbon footprint.”

These environmentally-conscious credentials play a major part in the forward-thinking philosophy that underpins Hemp Horizon.

“We hope that our customers will appreciate our endeavours and belief,” said Kay. “We are very aware of the eco-friendliness of hemp and the other organic fibre we use for our garments.”

HEMP HORIZON PART OF INCREASINGLY POPULAR UK HEMP INDUSTRY

Hemp is one of the most eco-friendly crops on the planet. It uses very few pesticides, and can often be grown almost anywhere. Hemp is ideal for a future in which sustainability becomes ever-more important.

“As well as being the base fibre for creating high quality fabrics it’s a high yielding plant with a very diverse range of uses,” agreed Kay.

Although CBD derived from hemp is becoming more popular in the UK, there is still a lack of understanding about hemp’s legal status.

“We’ve never had any legal issues,” Kay said. “But we have found that people need to be educated about the simple fact that hemp cannot get you high.”

As an independent business, Kay admits that getting things off the ground hasn’t been easy:

It’s been quite a long journey to get to this point, almost two years — designing the garments, creating templates for the patterns and investing in machinery, all to ensure we’re totally self sufficient. Our development journey has been challenging, and required a whole new learning curve. There have been delays along the way, mainly in terms of investment as this project has been totally self-funded.

For now, Hemp Horizon’s range is mostly focused on women’s clothes such as t-shirts, skirts, dresses and jackets. There are plans to expand.

“We’re planning to launch a more extensive range of men’s products in early 2019,” said Kay.

Currently this is limited to a smart herringbone design cap made from 100 percent hemp, and a pair of bamboo wood sunglasses.

Hemp Horizon has no plans to move into hemp-based health products, in part because of ongoing confusion between hemp and psychoactive cannabis (“marijuana”).

“As the public become more aware of the differences then we can look to cross sell all the benefits.”

HEMP LEGALIZATION BRINGS A NEW ERA OF SUSTAINABLE FASHION

Hemp has been grown for centuries, used for everything from paper, rope to food and has a range of uses far beyond the benefits of CBD and other cannabinoids.

With the prohibition era juddering to a halt across the Western world, we can look forward to more forward-thinking companies using hemp in increasingly impressive and sustainable ways. Fashion is just one industry to benefit, as both the public and government authorities realise just how useful this plant can be.

As for Hemp Horizon, the products speak for themselves. This boutique brand is a cut above the rest, not only with their stylish range of products, but in how they point toward a future where eco-friendly hemp becomes established as the most important crop on the planet. Like so many others, Kay believes hemp can be a key part of creating a more sustainable way of life.

“If everyone is thinking more consciously we can help contribute to the healing and sustainability of our planet for the future generations.”

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Review: iLoveBad Boxer Briefs Are Super Comfortable, Soft & Breathable

iLoveBad boxer briefs are blended from organic cotton and ethically sourced hemp for undies that are both comfortable and sustainable. iLoveBad makes all their products in the U.S. in small workplaces with fair labor practices.

iLoveBad boxer briefs quickly became a favorite pair of undies, especially after “breaking in.”

Hemp fabrics are known for both their durability and becoming more comfortable over time. These boxer briefs, blended from hemp and organic cotton, were no exception. The fabric grew softer, and seemed to fit better with every wash. Thanks to hemp’s superior breathability, they stayed fresh feeling even in the Texas heat.

Beyond making a great pair of undies, iLoveBad is dedicated to making sustainable, healthy products in an ethical manner. Customers can feel good about how iLoveBad makes their boxer briefs, in addition to how good they feel to wear.

A shirtless man seen from behind, holding a guitar and wearing iLoveBad boxer briefs in black.

iLoveBad boxer briefs are a comfortable, breathable choice for even the hottest weather.

We were paid a fee by iLoveBad and offered free products in return for our honest opinion. If you purchase a product from one of these links, we’ll receive a percentage of sales. We only select the highest-quality hemp products for review on our site.

Read on for our full review of iLoveBad Boxer Briefs and more about the care iLoveBad puts into every product they make.

SUPPORT SUSTAINABLE, ETHICAL HEMP WITH ILOVEBAD

iLoveBad began with their signature hemp blankets. Founders Brittanny and Daniel discovered that natural fabrics like hemp cured a night sweating problem that was keeping Daniel awake. After designing a great blanket, iLoveBad expanded into other essentials like underwear.

While hemp fabrics are better than cotton for the environment and for wearers, iLoveBad takes their products even further when it comes to sustainability. iLoveBad make all their products in the U.S. using ethically sourced hemp and organic cotton. They partner with small, employee owned manufacturers in the United States that promote fair labor practices and clean working environments. You can read about their passionate, diverse team on their website.

iLoveBad also donates a portion of their profits to important causes like LA Habilitation House and Corazon de Vida Orphanages.

Three pairs of iLoveBad boxer briefs resting on a wooden background.ILOVEBAD BOXER BRIEFS OFFICIAL REVIEW

  • Highlights: Organic Cotton & Hemp Boxer Briefs from iLoveBad are ultra-comfortable and breathable, making them great for everyday wear in almost any weather.
  • Sizes:  Available in Small Through Extra-Large.
  • Price: $24.00 in black or white, or mixed 3-pack for $63.00
  • Customer Service & Shipping: Fast customer service. Standard shipping on a pair of hemp undies started at $2.79, with faster options available for an additional fee.
  • Features: Soft, comfortable boxer briefs that are great for work and leisure. The waistband is looser than most undies, but they were comfortably snug in the thighs and didn’t slip.
  • Materials: 64% Organic Cotton, 28% Hemp and 8% Lycra
  • Other: Women’s panties also available. iLoveBad accepts returns during a 100-day “Happy Shopping Window” to ensure customer satisfaction.

iLoveBad sources their hemp from a cooperative in China, which their supplier visits regularly to ensure high standards in both growing and working conditions. In addition to iLoveBad Boxer Briefs, they also make hemp socks, t-shirts, and of course, hemp blankets.

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Highland Hemp House: Sharing The Beauty & Potential In Hemp Homes (VIDEO)

The Highland Hemp House is a unique hempcrete home in Bellingham, Washington. Older toxic building materials in this 1960s house are being replaced with healthy, sustainable, carbon-negative hemp.

The Highland Hemp House is a unique hempcrete home in Bellingham, Washington.

Originally built in 1969, owner Pamela Bosch wanted to replace older, toxic building materials with something healthy, sustainable, and eco-friendly. The answer was hempcrete, made from combining the hurd (woody core) of industrial hemp plants with lime and water. Bosch hired Hempitecture to oversee a total hempcrete retrofit.

Previously, Hempitecture created a hempcrete retreat center at 7,468’ in Idaho’s Lost River mountains. Idaho Basecamp uses the center for yoga classes and other events to help people feel in touch with nature.

HIGHLAND HEMP HOUSE: HEMPCRETE IS HEALTHIER & MORE SUSTAINABLE

Why choose hempcrete? Hempcrete is more breathable, making it healthier for occupants. Hempcrete is mold-resistant, pest-resistant, and fire-resistant. It’s carbon-negative, since it’s absorbs CO2 from occupants over time. Hempcrete is an energy efficient insulator, completely non-toxic and even has great acoustics.

The Highland Hemp House in Bellingham, Washington is a unique hempcrete retrofit. This 1960s home is being completely remodeled with hemp, becoming healthier, more sustainable, and carbon-negative along the way.

The Highland Hemp House in Bellingham, Washington is a unique hempcrete retrofit. This 1960s home is being completely remodeled with hemp, becoming healthier, more sustainable, and carbon-negative along the way. (Courtesy: Highland Hemp House)

Best of all, Hempcrete is so easy to work with anyone can learn. To create hempcrete walls, builders first mix, then spread the hempcrete into forms. After it dries, the forms are removed, and the walls will naturally grow even more durable over time. Highland Hemp House is frequently open for workshops, tours, and hands-on building. So far, they’ve put in over 1150 hours of labor and poured over 587 batches of hempcrete.

As work continues, Pamela Bosch hopes Highland Hemp House will be “a physical testament to the beauty and potential in hemp building.”

Thanks to TAAP Media for video production assistance.

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Hemp Biofuel Could Ease Our Dependence On Fossil Fuels

After legalization, hemp biofuel could be a key part of reducing our dependence on fossil fuels. Researchers have made hemp into two types of biofuel: biodiesel and ethanol.

After legalization, hemp biofuel could be a key part of reducing our dependence on fossil fuels.

Fuel is everything. America would not be the hyper-efficient economy it is today without something to power our cars, computers, and our Roomba vacuum cleaners. We would be nothing but Neolithic farmers without our electricity and gasoline. But, anything that is truly valuable always comes at a price. Traditional fuel sources hurt the environment, and they’re running out. Air pollution from processing fossil fuels harms the troposphere, and indirectly depletes ozone from our atmosphere. The price for hyper efficiency is evident, which is why alternative fuel sources are becoming so important. Today we focus on a fuel source that hits close to home. That alternative is hemp biofuel.

A biodisel fuel pump at a filling station. Biodiesel is one very appealing option for hemp biofuel.

A biodisel fuel pump at a filling station. Biodiesel is one very appealing option for hemp biofuel.

The cannabis plant is the gift that keeps on givin’. This magic plant gives us CBD oil, THC, hemp fibers and even fuel! Researchers have made hemp into two types of biofuel: biodiesel and ethanol.

HEMP BIODISEL

Biodiesel is produced by the pressing of hemp seeds to extract their oils & fats. After the extraction, the product is then put through more steps to make it into a usable hemp biofuel for your car. If you’re curious to learn about the specifics of biodiesel production, the process is thoroughly explained by hemp.com.

The argument for hemp-derived biodiesel comes down to convenience. If processed correctly, biodiesel can be put into any diesel-powered automobiles. It can be stored and transported like diesel, so there isn’t a need to create a new system for transportation. It even replaces the smell of traditional diesel with the smell of hemp.

USING HEMP TO MAKE ETHANOL

Ethanol is traditionally made from wheat-based crops such as corn and barley. It’s traditionally used as an additive to gasoline, which gave way to our “flex-fuel” vehicles of today. Hemp can be made into ethanol by various forms of fermentation. Using hemp as the main source of ethanol, instead of food crops like wheat & corn has clear advantages. Not using food crops as a fuel source allows more efficiency in food production, and hemp can be grown in lower quality conditions unlike corn or wheat. Hemp-derived ethanol also shares the advantages of transportation and usability as biodiesel.

A row of yellow and green fuel pumps. Hemp biofuel could present more sustainable alternatives to fossil fuels in the near future.

A row of yellow and green fuel pumps. Hemp biofuel could present more sustainable alternatives to fossil fuels in the near future.

HEMP BIOFUEL OFFERS A MORE SUSTAINABLE ALTERNATIVE

Fuel alternatives like this can seem like a no-brainer to replace our traditional fossil-fuel sources, but there are drawbacks to these alternative techniques.

To set up a large-scale industrial hemp farm, you will experience the same ethical dilemmas that the farming industry faces. Deforestation and pesticide use will increase, and we’ll inevitably replace some of our food-crop land with more hemp-crop land. Farmers can grow hemp biofuel on land that is not fit for other crops. This “marginal land” is essentially land that isn’t tilled and cleared out for farming. Despite the versatility, hemp produces a much bigger harvest in ideal farming settings. Additionally, marginal land is actually home to important plants, trees, and living creatures that are vital to the ecosystem. Read “Is Hemp The Best Biofuel?” from sensiseeds.comfor a more in-depth look into the argument for hemp biofuel.

Clearly, hemp biofuel alone won’t solve our environmental crisis, but we believe it could be part of a transition to a cleaner way of living.

HOW THE AUTO-INDUSTRY ALREADY USES HEMP

While hemp biofuel may not be a popular ralternative just yet, the automotive industry already uses hemp. Automakers weave hemp plastic into a bendable material similar to fiberglass. Almost all European car makers use hemp fibers as interior door panels and trim pieces. And companies like FlexForm technologies operate as a dedicated producer of hemp-fiberglass that they sell to automotive companies to be made into car doors and exterior panels. Cars that feature hemp-based materials include the BMW i8 supercar and the Lotus Evora. The advantages that come with hemp-made materials is that they are lighter, bio-degradable, and comes from a much easier renewable resource. Hemp grows in roughly 3 months while metals take thousands of years to form.

Thanks to continued bipartisan support for hemp legalization paired with a culture that is growing increasingly accepting of the cannabis plant, we’re witnessing the beginning of  hemp revolution. While hemp biofuel can’t solve the entire energy crisis (we believe the answer to that problem will require multiple solutions), it can provide us with a great renewable fuel source in addition to it’s already useful applications.

While we spent our time here discussing hemp biofuel, let’s not forget the other ways people have been using hemp. There’s hemp beer, hemp blankets, and, this reporter’s personal favorite, hemp food! The future is indeed green.

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Hemp Blankets Can Drastically Change Your Life for the Better

Daniel Ong of iLoveBad started learning about hemp after suffering from night sweats. That led him on a journey to rediscover hemp’s promise and, eventually, the creation of organic hemp blankets, socks, and underwear.

My journey to creating organic hemp blankets began with a bad night’s sleep.

In late Winter of 2010, I suffered from mysterious sleep sweating which woke me up every hour of the night. Extremely uncomfortable & sweaty, I would disgustingly peel off the blanket to dry myself. Moments later, the sweat would dry and the winter chills would resume. This process of sweating, waking, taking the blanket off and putting it back on repeated for well over a week.

Then one day while chattin’ with my mom in her bedroom, I noticed she was using the exact same blanket. In that moment I had an epiphany: the blanket could have been the reason for my sweating. I asked her if she had been sweating abnormally in her sleep as I had. To my confirmation, she’d exclaimed, “Oh my God! How’d You know?!”

After Daniel Ong suffered from night sweats, he and his wife began creating organic hemp blankets and, soon after, other hemp clothes seen here.

After suffering from night sweats, Daniel Ong discovered that synthetic fabrics might be to blame. He and his wife began researching alternatives, leading creation of organic hemp blankets and later other hemp clothes too.

It was that moment that led to the creation of iLoveBad, but for us it’s always been about more than making hemp clothing or a comfortable blanket. We believe hemp can make people’s lives better, as we discovered when we researched hemp blankets.

UNDERSTANDING SLEEP SWEATING & SYNTHETIC FIBER BLANKETS

Beginning that day, my wife and I began researching as much as we could about this night sweating problem.

With just a few hours of google searches, we realized that intense sleep sweating, otherwise known as Hyperhidrosis, was somewhat of a worldwide epidemic that seemed to have no clear answer.  Further, we discovered the blankets we were sweating under was the cause of the sweating because it was made from synthetic fibers (Nylon, Polyester, Acrylic, etc) that are known to be non-breathable, which means that those fibers keep oxygen from entering our bodies through our skin (our body’s largest organ), causing our bodies to suffocate & overheat.

If you own a microfiber couch or a car seat, you can detect the sweating against your skin. Over time, I believe that prolonged exposure to these fabrics causes our bodies to suffer. Even though our bodies are magical in their ability to restore balance, this sweating is extremely counter-productive. Sleep is supposed to restore our bodies, but instead they work overtime!

Realizing all this, we immediately sought for a blanket made with natural fibers. Surprisingly, there were very few options to choose from. Granted, it was 2010 when this was taking place prior to the organic/natural living craze that had swept the world. The blankets we had seen were either too small, too thin, or not soft enough. The only one that came close to what we were looking for cost about $500!

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CREATING OUR OWN HEMP BLANKETS

So instead of purchasing something to get by, we decided to make one ourselves. That decision led us to the re-discovery of hemp, a forgotten weed-like plant that was once the staple of American agriculture.

Because of hemp’s renewability (grows rapidly like weeds), versatility (can be used for so many different applications), and environmental benefits (in that it doesn’t require a lot of water to grow as well as pesticides to ward off bugs), it was an easy fiber choice for us to go with.  We then found a local fabric vendor in LA along with a seamstress to help us design & sew the blanket.

We spent about $200 to complete the project and the results were beautiful. Our blanket feels incredibly soft, being that it’s fleece, and magically stopped my mysterious sleep sweating!

We loved it so much that we had to make more for friends and family. The growing excitement over our organic hemp blankets eventually evolved into a business that now includes undies, tees & socks. All our products are comfortable, but they also bring awareness to the incredibly dynamic hemp fiber as well as the many benefits of natural living in general.

WHY HEMP MATTERS: IT’S MORE THAN JUST HEMP BLANKETS & SOCKS

There were a lot of reasons why we could’ve gone with hemp as a business and every single one of those reasons would validate its use.

However, the one aspect that really motivated us to go with hemp was the fact that it was erroneously labeled as a Schedule 1 drug by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Hemp was banned banned as a crop by the United States Government for nearly a hundred years, until 2014.

Further, the U.S. government used propaganda to demonize this harmless plant. The goal of all this was to coerce our society to believe that all forms of cannabis, including hemp, will get you high and do really scary things. Ironically, the government still allowed hemp imports, leading many thousands of dollars to flow overseas annually.

A young child holds a hemp leaf. A deliberate campaign of misinformation led to the demonization of cannabis in all its forms, including industrial hemp.

We’ve all been misled at some point in our lives and though it’s not cool, it is what it is. This situation however really bums us out because it reminds us of how unaware & gullible we can be as a society and as individuals. Being unaware doesn’t have to be unhealthy but this lack of awareness led us to judge, criminalize (unjust imprisonment), and destroy the lives of so many people & groups associated with it over the years.

I bring this up not to be sour but rather to remind our collective society to reserve our judgement about everything. Chances are, we really don’t understand them to begin with. We often fear that in which we don’t understand (especially drugs like Marijuana, psilocybin mushrooms, MDMA, and LSD); we all know this.

When you think about it, you’ll easily deduct that fear is the root cause of our insecurities. Fear leads to our anxieties, depressions, and a host of psychological disorders. Likewise, it inevitably stunts creativity! By reserving our judgement about the unknown and perhaps even embracing them as a creation of a higher being, I believe this will drastically mitigate our fear and subsequently dispel the anxieties that comes with it. Again, there are so many reasons to champion hemp back to its glory days and we’re all about them.

But because the most common mental illness in our society is anxiety, we also care to promote the ideology and mental benefits that comes with supporting hemp.

NATURAL FIBERS & ORGANIC HEMP BLANKETS HELP YOU REST

To sum it all up, blankets made of synthetic fibers (such as Polyester, Nylon and Acrylic) are non-breathable.  This blocks our skin from the necessary oxygen it breathes in. Blankets made of natural fibers such as hemp, organic cotton, wool, silk and so forth are more breathable. Naturall fibers allow our bodies to effectively collect the oxygen it requires.

Supporting hemp teaches us about the idea of reserving judgement and fear towards the unknown, like hemp and even other currently illegal substances. We honestly believe that this conscious effort will raise awareness for unconditional acceptance and love for all (the good and the bad), reducing anxiety and inspiring limitless creativities within us all.

Working together, we can all meet our daily hurdles en route to manifesting our highest aspirations.

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Hemp Packaging Offers Sustainable Alternatives To Paper & Plastic (VIDEO)

Every industry is struggling with the growing problem of waste. Both medical and recreational dispensaries depend on plastic and foil containers which are used once, then thrown away. We met with two pioneering companies creating sustainable hemp-based alternatives.

Hemp packaging could be a solution to the problem of disposable, single-use paper and plastic.

“The statistics are in: every second … a half acre of trees are cut down,” said Matthew Glyer of Hemp.Press. “7.5 bllion trees for paper alone is not sustainable.”

Every industry is struggling with the growing problem of waste. The legal cannabis industry is no exception. Both medical and recreational dispensaries depend on plastic and foil containers which are used once, then thrown away. For the most part, these materials are not biodegradable. Single-use paper packaging is also commonplace in the industry.

While hemp plastic is still being perfected, companies like Sana Packaging are already creating composites from hemp and corn. Sana Packaging’s products are created using hemp hurd, the fibrous woody core of agricultural hemp, then combined with corn to create composite bioplastic.

Hemp packaging can be part of reducing dependence on single-use, unsustainable packaging.

A Sana Packaging tube designed for use in the legal cannabis industry. This “doob tube” is made from a combination of hemp and corn. Hemp packaging can be part of reducing dependence on single-use, unsustainable packaging.

Working with domestically-sourced materials also ensures the sustainability of their products.

“Our hemp is sourced here domestically in Kentucky, processed in North Dakota and we manufacture in Minnesota and Arizona,” said Ron Basak-Smith of Sana Packaging. “All American made, all American supply chain.”

Hemp.Press also targets the cannabis industry with products that replace boxes or display cards made from trees with hemp paper.

The companies are also involved in lobbying to change cannabis laws. Currently, most states with legal medical or recreational marijuana programs prohibit the re-use of packaging at cannabis dispensaries. If those laws changed, consumers would be able to bring their hemp packaging back to the dispensary to be refilled with fresh flower, extract, or pre-rolled cannabis joints.

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Here’s Why Hempcrete Is The Greatest Innovation in Healthy Homes

Growing interest in a lesser known building material could create healthy homes all over America. It’s called hempcrete and it’s durable, sustainable and carbon negative.

Growing interest in a lesser known building material could create healthy homes all over America.

It’s called hempcrete. This combination of chopped hemp shiv and lime binder is durable, sustainable and carbon negative. Lime is an abundant quarried material and hemp is a renewable biomaterial — both safeguarding the sustainable future of hempcrete and our planet.

HOW DOES HEMPCRETE PROMOTE HEALTHY HOMES?

Hempcrete is a breathable matter, absorbing moisture from the air when humidity is high and releasing it again when humidity levels drop. This ensures that water vapour can pass in and out of the wall rather than becoming trapped and causing damp problems.

healthy homes can be made from hempcrete like this experimental building in Singapore

The wall of a hempcrete building in Singapore. Hempcrete buildings are healthy homes because this unique building material is pest and mold resistant and vapor permeable. (Flickr / Jnzl’s Photos, CC-BY license)

When cooking or in bedrooms at night from the occupants breathing, there is often excess moisture in the air. Hempcrete absorbs this moisture into the walls to be released later, discouraging damp. This in turn combats the formation of fungi and mold spores which are damaging to human health.

The regulation of humidity has been shown to inhibit the spread of viral and bacterial infections, allergic reactions and respiratory conditions. This ability to regulate air quality reduces the need for powered air filters and ventilation systems, allowing for truly healthy homes.

WHAT ABOUT HEMPCRETE AND PEST CONTROL?

Hemp is naturally fire-retardant and pest-resistant. Because of these properties, there is no need to add the chemicals which are usually added to building materials, including formaldehyde and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen and VOCs have been implicated in both asthma and allergies. The omission of these chemicals obviously contributes to the health of the occupants of the house.

hempcrete shreds

A pair of hands holding dried, shredded hemp shivs, which look a bit like wood chips. They are ready to be mixed with lime and water and formed into blocks.

Hempcrete can be used to build new healthy homes or add an extension to your existing home, perhaps a “granny annexe” allowing elderly parents to move in with their children in a healthy environment or a “relaxation room” for family members to unwind and breathe deeply.

HEALTHY HOMES AND HEMPCRETE: WILL THE BENEFITS WEAR OUT?

Hempcrete is an incredible material which has negative carbon emissions. This means that it absorbs more carbon dioxide than is produced by building it.

Even in this form, when hempcrete has consumed more carbon dioxide than it has left in the atmosphere, it remains breathable, so homes continue to be rainproof but remainpermeable to gas and moisture in the environment. Hempcrete homes will stay healthy for life.

What with the growth of green building, interest in healthy homes and and widespread need for sustainable building materials, hempcrete is set to be the home building material of the future.

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