which fabric is considered one of the most versatile and durable natural fabrics of all time? and the answer is…. fibre from the hemp plant; not to be confused with the notorious marijuana plant even though they hail from the same species of plant. what’s so special about this plant?
hemp is a bast fibre, i.e., it is a soft woody fibre that is obtained from the woody stalk of a larger plant. the hemp plant is different from its sister marijuana because the former has more bast with a hollow centre which is conducive for more energy to go towards the bast.
how is hemp sustainable?
hemp is one of the most sustainable products out there because hemp can be grown organically without using any pesticides or herbicides.
the chemicals that are usually added for removing weeds is not required in this case because the thick hemp plants do most of the work in strangling the weeds.
since the plants prevent weed growth, it allows efficient use of the land. you may not know this but efficient use of land is very important for sustainability because using more land for agriculture means less land to support the surrounding biodiversity.
hemp can grow with just rain which saves precious water.
the fibres from the hemp plant are completely biodegradable so they will not contribute to the piles of toxic landfills contaminating our planet.
however, while the properties of this plant are a dream come true for environmentalists, the issue is that these benefits can be derived only if it is farmed a certain way. in many parts of the world, hemp is still irrigated with fresh water and harvested non-organically. this means that there needs to be complete transparency in the supply chains so that we can ensure it is organic cotton.
hope this will ease some of doubts about hemp being the same as marijuana and encourage you to buy clothes that are made from hemp fibres.
until next time, live sustainable. live aastey.