We have grown up hearing that cotton is the all American fabric, the fabric of our lives, yet hemp fibers are actually better. Both cotton and hemp have a longstanding place in human history. Hemp has been around for millennia. It grows all over the planet, and it didn’t take long for ancient civilizations to realize its bountiful uses. Hemp is a sturdy, hardy plant. Its stalks are fibrous and thick, allowing it to be used in construction. The seeds are also highly nutritious, which is why many modern people use hemp seeds as part of the paleo diet and other nutrition plans. It was the most used material for making fibers, clothing, ropes, beddings, fishing nets, etc. Fibers from cannabis plants were used for making paper and its seeds are a valuable food source.
Hemp and cotton have a lot in common. Both have been used by humans for thousands of years, and both can be used in textile production. The ban on marijuana has led to the use of less hemp than ever. According to the known facts, the production of cotton dates from around 6,000 B.C. it is made from seeds of a plant that is a member of the mallow family. Millions and millions of tons of cotton are produced every year around the world.
We’ll need to focus on various areas that have to be taken into consideration when comparing the two so we can determine not only what is better for us, but also what is best for our environment as it’s important to view things holistically. However, there are clear reasons why hemp is better than cotton. See the video to know and let’s discuss one by one.
Hemp VS Cotton: Which is better for Environment?
Hemp grows densely, saving space in cultivation. One acre of hemp can produce 1500 pounds of fiber – three times the amount that cotton produces in the same area. Hemp can also reduce soil pollution as a bio-accumulator and requires very little to no pesticides to grow whereas Cotton production utilizes over 16% of the world’s pesticides. Getting in touch with pesticides and chemicals for cotton production can seriously impair human health; especially for workers who make cotton in extremely poor conditions. We have a clear winner here. Let’s move on.
Hemp VS Cotton: Water usage
Cotton is the big loser, once again, when it comes to water. The cotton plant needs about 50 percent more water per season than hemp, which can grow with little irrigation. Cotton also tends to be grown in parts of the world where water is scarce. Hemp is a strong and reliable plant that grows very quickly. Not only that, hemp produces about 200% – 250% more fibre in the same amount of land compared to cotton. We can already conclude that hemp has also taken a victory here.
Hemp VS Cotton: Durability
Here we come to durability, you can guess, hemp is more durable than cotton. Cotton is a soft material and breaks down over time. Both materials are biodegradable, but hemp has much more strength and is much more durable than cotton. Benefits of cannabis Sativa plant over cotton do not stop here. Hemp is much harder than soft cotton, therefore it seems like an ideal material for making carpets, upholstery, ropes, belts, bags, cloth, the list goes on and on due to the huge number of products that can be made out of hemp. Hemp is also an antibacterial material, it is easy to grow, it keeps heat more.
Hemp VS Cotton: Softness
Another comparison in our research comes to softness. So which material is softer, hemp or cotton? There is no denying how soft cotton can be, but it is also true that cotton fibres break down over time and the more it is washed the faster it breaks down. Hemp fibers are far more durable and actually soften over time rather than disintegrating like cotton. Unlike cotton, hemp holds its strength when wet, and it also possesses anti-bacterial properties. Although it may not start off quite as soft, it is still soft and certainly would not be considered uncomfortable. Repeated washed will not break the fibre down anywhere near as quickly as cotton. Hemp is winner on this one again.
Hemp VS Cotton: Fabric properties
We have grown up hearing that cotton is the all American fabric, the fabric of our lives, yet hemp fibers are actually better. Cotton fabric is softer and more comfortable against the skin than hemp fabric. Hemp fiber has a rough feel to it in its natural spun state and is susceptible to fraying. Hemp also has a pronounced, naturally-occurring odor that some people don't care for.
Hemp fibers have a relatively large surface area and are very water absorbent. This allows the fiber to dye well and retain its color better than any other fabric including cotton or linen. Furthermore, they don’t stretch out of shape.
Hemp VS Cotton: Versatility of use
It is estimated that Hemp currently has over 20,000 different ways to be used. Some of the most common uses of Hemp are: making papers, foods, body care products, fabrics, textiles, ropes, even fuels, and building materials. Hemp can be a good alternative for plastic because it needs around 80 to 90 days to completely biologically degrade. Hemp is an excellent building material, lightweight, waterproof, fireproof, self-insulating, and resistant to pests whereas Cotton is also known for its versatility, we all know it is used for making, T-shirt, jeans and socks, but also for making fishing nets, coffee filters etc. Cotton is also used to produce goods such as curtains, bandages, swabs, banknotes, cotton buds, and x-rays. So who is the winner in this battle, hemp or cotton? We leave you to estimate yourself. But let us know in the comments section.
Cotton has served us well during the last several decades while industrial hemp was illegal to grow in our country. This isn’t to say that cotton, especially grown organically, is not a good material, it simply isn’t better all around than hemp. Hemp has made waves in the Indian startup industry. It’s growing as the face of Sustainability in India – and rightfully so. With an ever-increasing range of diverse products, the only way for the Hemp Industry in India is forward. Hemp clearly has a number of advantages over cotton, especially when it comes to the environment. Check the video to learn more.
Isn’t it time to reduce the use of cotton and replace it with a sustainable alternative? We now have an option and hemp is the crop of the future. The list of pros also outweighs the cons, suggesting that hemp is by and large a more beneficial plant. Let’s check.
Hemp VS Cotton: Pros and Cons
We will list here all of the benefits and drawbacks for both of these plants.
Need 2 months to grow
Needs very little or no chemical additives to grow.
Needs 2,300 litres of water for 1kg fiber.
It can be used for medical and industrial purposes.
It can be grown on every continent besides Antartica.
Great Food source contains fatty, amino acids and high protein.
It can save trees from deforestation.
Naturally destroys weeds.
Rich historical use.
It’s not legal everywhere in the world.
The industry is very small and still in development.
Various range of use.
Soft and flexible material.
It is biodegradable.
Huge Industry making a lot of profit.
Does not irritate the skin.
Need 5.5 to 6.5 months to fully produce fiber.
It isn’t environmentally friendly.
Breeds with chemicals (pesticides, herbicides, etc.)
Needs a huge amount of water for irrigation.
Cotton production leaves a real impact on human health due to exposure to chemicals.
Expensive for production.
Needs a lot of land to grow·
During prolonged use, it decays.
It is clear that Hemp is eco-friendly, durable, sustainable, extremely versatile in comparison with cotton and it can replace a lot of materials which ruin our planet. Hemp may not be as comfortable as cotton, but eventually, it will become over the years, and not only will it last longer, but will also give a great contribution to our planet. We care about our planet and you should too.
So according to you, is Hemp the answer to all our environmental problems, or just boring pot? Is hemp better compared to cotton? Will people use hemp plant fabric? Have you ever owned any hemp products? Let us know in the comment section.
-Himalayan Hemp cooperative community preserves the indigenous Himalayan hemp strain by using an eco-socio-capitalistic model with the help of farmers residing in the Himalayan Belt.