A project delving into the recyclability of hemp fibers used for paper making has received financial support from the Hemp Innovations Foundation.
The production of paper is just one of the myriad uses of industrial hemp. But how often can it be recycled for this application? Some say up to 8 times compared to 3 times for paper made from wood pulp.
A collaboration between the Hemp Innovations Foundation and Western Michigan University (WMU) will seek to determine a definitive answer. The project, named Hemp Recycles, will see various wood pulps tested for recyclability and a parallel series of tests will be done with hemp pulp provided by Hemp Press.
“This research is the culmination of more than a decade of hemp paper innovation at Hemp Press,” said CEO Matthew Glyer. “Our aim is to establish hemp as the pre-eminent alternative fiber needed to protect and preserve the most effective and widely distributed carbon capture device on Earth, our Ancient and Endangered Forests.”
Mr. Glyer is also the Executive Director of the Hemp Recycles Project. The Hemp Innovations Foundation (HIF) is a sister organization of the National Hemp Association (NHA).
“The NHA and HIF truly believe this type of research that separates fact from fiction is exactly what the industry needs,” said Erica Stark, Executive Director of NHA and NIF. “Hemp for paper products holds so much potential and this research will provide long-term benefits well beyond the life of the project.”
According to Statista, global pulp for paper production has remained above 180 million metric tons per year over the past decade. This pulp is largely sourced from trees sustainably and not-so-sustainably harvested. The largest pulp-producing country is the USA – and by a wide margin.
There’s a lot to like about using hemp for paper productions. Proponents say the plant can result in products more robust and less expensive than tree-based paper. Hemp also grows a lot faster, several months compared to years for trees.
This project is also seeking to establish regional hemp fiber and pulp supply chains with local farmers in the USA, stimulating the domestic economy “from field to sheet”.