Environmentally, hemp is a safer crop to grow than cotton. Cotton is a soil-damaging crop and needs a great deal of fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides. Cotton crops in the USA occupy 1% of the country’s farmland but use 50% of all pesticides. 1 acre of hemp will produce as much as 2-3 acres of cotton. The hemp plant is highly resistant to most insects and disease, largely eliminating the need for most (or all) pesticides and herbicides. No herbicides have been approved for industrial hemp. Hemp is 4 times warmer than cotton, 4 times more water absorbent, has 3 times the tensile strength of cotton. It is also many times more durable and is flame retardant and anti-microbial.
One acre of hemp (grown in a single season) yields as much pulp as up to 4 acres of trees (which take an average of 27 years to grow back). Hemp paper is stronger, acid free, has a longer shelf life and costs less than half as much to process as tree paper. Hemp paper can be recycled 10 times whereas wood-based paper can only be recycled twice without losing integrity and requiring additional virgin fiber content. Since deforestation is a serious environmental concern, hemp can offer a significant contribution to the world’s environment as well as its economy.