Hemp: As a Natural Alternative

Today hemp is staging a comeback, used by fashion designers and mass producers alike. In addition to established producers such as China, Romania, Hungary and France hemp crops are now also grown in Australia, Canada, Britain, Austria, Chile, Denmark, Finland, India, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Russia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Egypt, Korea, Portugal, Thailand, Ukraine, USA, and Germany. Hemp is legally cultivated in at least 30 countries around the world, including every G-7 country. Even in the USA an experimental crop of hemp is being grown in Hawaii under a government license, and 22 states have introduced legislation for support, research or cultivation of hemp.

Hemp can be converted into chemicals, energy, textiles, building materials, paper and many other industrial product. This new materials base is called a 'carbohydrate economy'. A carbohydrate economy reduces pollution, builds stronger rural communities, and supports a farmer-owned manufacturing sector.

While processing of hemp is established for historical uses such as textiles, food, oil and ropes, innovative applications are being investigated. Hemp is used for products as diverse as car dash boards or panels (Mercedes, BMW, Audi, Cadillac) and horse bedding. Hemp fibre has excellent sound proofing qualities and is extremely water resistant, giving it many applications in the building industry. Hemp stalks can be made into plywood and chipboard and hemp hurds are a good insulation material.

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Copyright 2005 - Last Updated October 2005