Do you know that every time we drink our tea bag, eat our yummy salmon or consume canned foods, and all water bottles, juice containers, we also consume lots of Micro plastics?
Over the course of a meal, you’re most likely consuming around 100 bits of micro plastic and, over the course of a year, closer to 70,000 pieces. So along with fat, protein, and carbohydrates, your body is also getting a steady dose of plastic waste. The health effects of ingesting these particles are unknown, but some pieces are small enough to enter human tissues, where they could trigger immune reactions or release toxic substances.
Plastic is an inescapable part of our everyday lives, so why is almost all of it still made from polluting, non-renewable petrochemicals?
At the moment, our plastics are made from oil, which means not only are we putting toxic chemicals into our atmosphere, but we are also filling our environment with products that cannot bio-degrade. Since the mass production of plastics began in the 1940s. It is estimated between 250 to 300 million tonnes of plastics are manufactured every year. 10% of plastics are recycled; the rest of it goes to landfills or ends up as litter in the environment.
What if today’s plastics could be made from materials that were not only sustainable but non toxic? To combat this problem, a new company out of Australia has created a promising new product called Zeoform, made entirely out of water and cellulose taken from hemp plants.
This means their plastic is not only eco-friendly in production but is also biodegradable. What’s more, unlike plastic, Zeoform is compostable.
Hemp, along with flax and straw, are ideal for making Zeoform because of their high cellulose content. But it can be made from recycled paper and textiles too. So, utilising hemp cellulose, Zeoform is 100% non-toxic, biodegradable and compostable. It can produce commercial and industrial grade materials ranging from Styrofoam, to hard and resilient building materials.
Zeoform is the revolutionary material that changes everything.
According to Zeoform, their product is very durable and relies only on the natural process of hydrogen bonding that takes place when cellulose fibres are mixed with water. No glue or bonding material is necessary because the bond created is already so strong. The final material can be formed into almost anything and can be cut, routed, machined, drilled, screwed, nailed, and glued in the same way wood and wood composites can be. It can also be coloured/dyed, and finished in any way creators like.
Check the video to learn more about Zeoform.
As Alf Wheeler, the head of the Australian company that produces the product, explains, Zeoform is a very long-lasting and resistant material that can be reinforced further in both categories with some small adjustments to ingredients. Also, it can be coated with other elements and moulded into almost any shape and turned into furniture, vehicles, jewellery and even musical instruments.
Not only is Zeoform a greener alternative to plastic, but Wheeler sees the potential for replacing natural materials like wood as well.
Lately, plastic has become an environmental problem, not only because the fossil fuels used to create it are becoming rarer, but also because of the chemical and toxic products involved in the process that have an impact on the environment. Could we replace fossil fuel-based plastic with a natural option?
The answer to this is finding another way to boycott plastic in all its entirety by using an alternative bioplastic and hemp is an excellent and sustainable source of cellulose. Hemp plastics are made from the stalk of the plant. The stalk provides a high cellulose count which is required for the plastic construction, providing both strength and flexibility. Hemp contains around 65-70% cellulose compared to wood 40%, flax 65-75%, and cotton up to 90%. What makes hemp really shine is its high cellulose count combined with its favourable growing characteristics and low environmental impact.
Hemp plastic does not contain harmful disruptors such as petroleum-based plastics, nor does it release toxins to the air while it is manufactured. The structure of Hemp fiber is spread more randomly than traditional plastics, thus increasing durability in all directions.
The strength of Hemp plastic is ideal for many industries such as automotive, textiles, cosmetics, toys, building infrastructures, furniture, and especially the packaging industry can benefit from hemp plastic. It is also not heavy, and this means it is used in any maritime and aeronautical-related structures.
To make hemp plastic, cellulose is extricated from the stalks of modern evaluation hemp plants, used to complete the polymer chain and joined with an impetus to accelerate the polymer replication. Next, it’s blended with added substances and warmed to make it progressively malleable. As it cools, the subsequent hemp plastic material is typically cut into pellets and dispatched off to assembling plants.
Hemp is utilized to make everything from cellophane to rayon and it confronts indistinguishable maltreatment from customary plastics.
Check the video to know how hemp plant is superior.
Yes. Hemp plastic is nothing new. Henry Ford used hemp along with other plant materials to create his first Model T. It was stronger and lighter than metal which resulted in more mileage. Today BMW and other manufacturers use hemp to create door panels. Plastics made from hemp do not contribute to permanent pollution, unlike the conventional plastics. Plastics are toxic due to their long durability. A bottle of water may be used only for a few minutes but may take years to break down. It’s easy to understand why plastic pollution is growing worldwide because of plastic goods such as grocery bags, plastic containers, bottles, straws, and electronics.
It takes around 3–6 months to decompose hemp plastic in the right environment. Compared to conventional plastics, this is surprising. Plastic hemp can also be permanently recycled. Plastic-based on petroleum can be recycled, but it is a poisonous method because this kind of plastic is chemical-loaded.
Today there are only a few companies making use of hemp in the production of bioplastics. Company like Kanesis also highlight some of the possibilities of using hemp in the production of bioplastics. Their innovative techniques demonstrate the versatility and aesthetically pleasing properties of hemp bioplastics, while taking advantage of the plants eco-friendly properties. With hemp often wrongly tied in with cannabis legislation, this can lead to sourcing difficulties.
Hemp by-products are often imported from countries such as China and France where growing licenses are more easily obtained. This can add sufficient costs to the production process, and has undoubtedly slowed research efforts into hemps use as a bioplastic. Despite these difficulties, there are companies taking advantage of the diverse and favourable characteristics of the hemp plant, paving the way for more companies to learn and adapt on their success.
What kind of world will the present generation leave for the future generation? A dead sea with no corals and fishes? A microplastic contaminated water supply? Desert mountains?
As a progressive species we need to change our relationship with plastics, if not for ourselves then for future generations. We should ask ourselves, Is it really worth it to purchase a non-biodegradable product that will probably outlive us before it degrades? We need to establish eco-friendly approaches to plastic to help reduce our negative footprint on this planet. The future is indeed green. Hemp plastic provides a real solution to maintain the functionality of plastics, while minimising our ecological footprint. Little changes could have a major effect.
We are working with the aim of improving this situation and finding other more natural options.
We at Himalayan Hemp works for socio-ecological revolution for saving Indigenous Himalayan Hemp community and Himalayan hemp strain. Join us to help promote sustainable development with smart organic farming, innovation integration, and a fair economic model by utilizing and preserving the indigenous Himalayan hemp strain.
Let us work together for the better tomorrow for our future generation and help us find solutions to eventually allow our future products to be housed in hemp bioplastic.
Take a moment and look around you right now. How many things do you notice that are made from plastic? Thankfully hemp plastic shows great potential as a healthier alternative. The possibilities for hemp plastic are endless!