The growing demand for tree-based paper is starting to take an ever-increasing toll on the natural ecosystem. For now, things are relatively good. The deforestation rate of old growth is only about 10%, while the other 90% of tree-based paper products come from sustainable forestry practices that replace trees as trees are used. Yet developers are tempted to hit old-growth forests when demand is highest, and even at the current rate of 10%, that translates to cutting down tens of thousands of acres of trees. It doesn’t have to be this way, especially when there is an alternative plant that can be harvested several times a year and can grow a full cycle in three months. That plant is hemp, and until now there haven’t been many hemp paper options. That is starting to change, and the real start has been launched with the hemp toilet paper offering.
What better place to start than something we come into contact with, up close, almost every day? Everyone uses toilet paper frequently and therefore it is an industry that has an extremely high turnover and absolute level of demand. It also doesn’t help that the toilet paper is made from 100% trees and that there is no other material to fill it with. If we could replace even a small part of the toilet paper industry with hemp, then humanity would be in a much better position ecologically.
Hemp is the perfect crop to replace paper products because it is much more renewable than trees. Hemp can be harvested several times a year and can grow to fruit in as little as three months. Better yet, it can be grown almost anywhere in the world, so there is no need for a single geographic area to develop a specialty for hemp. This will also reduce costs, as if raw materials need to be transported a shorter distance, savings will be increased due to lower fuel requirements and higher overall efficiency.
There are also health issues to consider. Hemp toilet paper is healthier because it doesn’t contain bleaching agents or other chemicals used to process regular alternatives. Considering how easy it is for these chemicals to enter our bodies due to the way toilet paper is used, it’s no small feat that hemp is free from these problems and annoyances.