Birds eye view of crop being farmed

Report: How Hemp Can Help the Environment and the Economy

Concerns over how environmental damage will impact the economy in Europe have been growing for some time as research figures show an increase in unsustainable farming and manufacturing practices to help keep up with the demand of the growing population.

The Hemp Manifesto

In a report by the European Industrial Hemp Association, they predict that the already slowing European economy will continue to decline, causing unemployment and financial strain.

The report looks into the potential of the European hemp sector as a way to encourage a greener and more sustainable economy that can support long-term growth.

How Can Hemp Farming be Sustainable?

Hemp is known to be a particularly versatile crop, and its various qualities make it a key player in the future of sustainable agriculture.

Hemp is a Carbon Sink

Hemp’s deep root system acts as a carbon sink by fixing CO2 to the soil, which is incredibly important in taking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. As biomass, hemp also stores further carbon.

Power stations producing greenhouse gasses

Hemp Produces Zero Waste

Hemp can be transformed into a vast number of products including paper, textiles, insulation material, ropes, bioplastics, animal feed, fuel and compost. All parts of the plant, the roots, stalks, flowers and seeds are used in the manufacture of these products, meaning there is zero organic waste.

Hemp is a Catch Crop

Thanks to its fast-growing nature, hemp can be used as a catch crop which can improve revenue for farmers. In agriculture, a catch crop is a crop that can be grown between the plantings of a main crop. There is also evidence that growing hemp can improve the yield of the main crop as its root system takes heavy metals away from the soil, thus improving soil health.

Hemp Needs Fewer Inputs

Hemp is robust, and as a result, it needs fewer inputs than most other fibre crops, such as cotton; lower doses of pesticides, herbicides and water are also required. Manure and other natural materials total 50% of the fertilisers used.

Hemp plants growing on a farm

How Can Hemp Farming Help the Economy?

The report states that, to allow for hemp production to support the economy, changes need to be made to policies across the EU and to the overall way we view hemp products.

· The use of hemp as food, feed and manufactured products should be promoted.
· Hemp farming’s environmental benefits need to be recognised.
· Drug control legislations should not apply to hemp or its products, providing they meet the requirement for minimum THC content.
· On field maximum THC should be restored to 0.3% to align with international standards.
· All EU countries should allow all parts of the plant to be used or marketed – currently, some do not allow the use of the leaves and flowers.
· Hemp should not be considered as a novel food.
· Guidance for THC in food and feed should be revised and reasonably established – the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) considers the current guidance to be outdated and strict.
· All hemp-derived raw materials should be allowed as ingredients for cosmetics.
· The EU should establish a sustainable value chain for hemp by encouraging its use in the production of short and long fibres for textiles and offering early producers incentives and training.
· Using hemp in construction in both the public and private sector should be incentivised over the use of less sustainable materials.

This data is an encouraging overview of the possibilities of hemp both as a crop and a product providing European governments are willing to make changes.

ElleVance believes in the use of hemp for the health of people and the environment. For more information on our CBD oil drops and products, please visit our website or contact us.

Bees going into a hive

How Growing Hemp Has a Positive Impact on the Environment

Hemp can be used for a surprising number of products; it is a lower-impact substitute to cotton and plastic, and can be used as a biofuel, paper and even a healthy food! With the health of the environment a deservingly hot-topic, industries, businesses and individuals are all searching for alternative, eco-friendly products to substitute those with more detrimental effects on the planet. We are finding that hemp can help here too!

The use of hemp is, once again, booming. This resurgence is of huge benefit to the natural environment, and economies across the globe. Below, we’ve taken a look at some of the primary benefits of hemp growth and production on the environment and how this resurgent industry is having a positive effect.

A Greener Alternative for Unsustainable Products

Many of the products we rely on day-to-day are considered unsustainable. The clothing we wear, the materials used to construct buildings and the fossil fuels extracted from the earth to heat our homes and run our cars and power stations. The search and development of bio-based alternatives has never been more urgent. Converting plants and using them as substitutes are becoming the norm, and for a good reason.

A report highlighting the impact of the construction industry from the Guardian states that ‘making one tonne of steel emits 1.46 tonnes of CO2 and 198kg of CO2 to create one tonne of reinforced concrete’. The alternative to this is ‘one square metre of timber-framed, hemp-lime wall, after allowing for the energy cost of transporting and assembling, actually stores 35.5kg of CO2’. There’s an obvious, and a very sobering difference in the impact of the materials used.

Reports on fast-fashion and cotton production are published on daily basis. The impact on the environment of the industries is in-comprehendible. Fibres from polyester, a fabric derived from fossil fuels, are seeping into the water supply and are contributing the world-wide micro-plastic epidemic. While the emissions from the fashion industry are at an all-time high and predicted to continue to rise, pair this with the intensity of the water required, and the production of clothing can have an eye-watering impact. The potential conqueror of this industry and an eco-friendly alternative is the wonder plant, hemp. When used for clothing, the material is breathable, sustainable, biodegradable, soft and long-lasting, making it a fantastic, environmentally friendly alternative for your new threads.

clothing rail

Absorbs CO2

Plants store carbon, and it’s only released when the plant is either burnt or composted. As well as this, through replanting, more CO2 is absorbed. Compare this to products which are derived from fossil fuels, or those that rely heavily on the planet’s finite resources, such as water, and hemp becomes an increasingly appealing option in the fight to reduce CO2.

Requires Little Water to Grow

Much like tough garden weeds, hemp needs very little water to thrive, the plant appreciates well-draining soils and is relatively draught-tolerant. When compared to alternatives, it requires very little water, as an example, ‘hemp uses one-quarter of the water’ that cotton requires to grow! This might not seem important in soggy Britain, but water is an increasingly scarce resource in many poor countries and it is critical to find cash crops that are water-efficient.

Multiple Uses and Minimal Waste from the Product

The uses of hemp are increasing daily as new products are that leverage this incredibly versatile material. From paper and plastics to guitars and cosmetics, construction materials, fuel and much more! It has been used for thousands of years, in thousands of products! The multiple uses of the material mean that very little goes to waste. When harvested, the seed, flowers, leaves, stems and stalks can all be processed into something useful.

Pollen Source

Hemp growers across the globe have reported a recognisable and welcomed buzz across their farms. Insects and bees flock to the crops while they’re flowering to gather all-important pollen. Species of moths, midges, wasps, flies, beetles and even ants are pollinators who travel to the hemp plantations to gather the sweet nectar. The honey produced by hives which forage on hemp is incredibly delicious too!

lots of wasps

Naturally resistant to many pests, allowing for reduced pesticide use
to produce a bountiful crop, many natural fibres rely heavily on pesticides. Hemp is a resilient plant and doesn’t require pesticides or herbicides to grow, and in fact, all of our products are grown under organic conditions, including our hemp CBD oil and CBD BITES! Organically produced, hemp can promote a healthy ecosystem, while encouraging wildlife. Pesticides not only kill beneficial insects, but they can also pollute our water and air, and quickly enter our food chain and then into us.

Improves Soil

Hemp plants have a root system that journeys deep into the ground; some have been known to grow up to three meters! This type of underground network can help to prevent soil erosion, as the earth is kept together with the connecting roots. Soil that is damaged and lacking an organic net such as a root system is more likely to erode.

We’ve only touched upon the many benefits of hemp and the environment. This wonder plant is being shown to improve people’s health, as well as the natural world around us! Its uses and benefits are astounding, and we’re proud to be part of the hemp revolution!