Toilet paper shortages as a result of Covid-19 have made people realize the fragility of our current supply chain. It should also make people see that hemp toilet paper is a more sustainable and efficient alternative to traditional toilet paper.
What is Hemp Toilet Paper?
Hemp paper, as the name states, is toilet paper made from the hemp plant. You probably think it would be more coarse than traditional toilet paper. In reality, it is softer.
The hemp bast stalk fiber, which is what hemp paper products are made of, is softer than wood fiber. That’s just one reason why hemp toilet paper is better than traditional toilet paper. We’ll do a full comparison later. First, let’s look at how hemp paper is made.
How is Hemp Toilet Paper Made?
The process of making hemp toilet paper starts with turning hemp hurds into pulp. The hurds is pulverized by machinery. Then, lignin, which gives hemp stalks and trees their brownish hue, is removed before processing.
There are two processes for removing lignin from hemp – oxygen delignification and autohydrolysis. Neither of these processes relies on the harsh chemicals used to remove lignin from tree pulp.
Oxygen delignification uses sodium bicarbonate under high temperatures and high pressure to remove the lignin. Autohydrolysis uses high-temperature and high-pressure water to get the job done.
After the lignin is removed, the pulp is laid out in a thin sheet and dried. It dries a single-ply but can easily be turned into multiple-ply.
How Does Hemp Toilet Paper Compare to Regular Toilet Paper?
The softness of hemp toilet paper compared to traditional toilet paper is just one benefit. Here are some more:
- Reduces deforestation
Hemp fiber is the strongest and most durable fiber. It is also capable of absorbing 5 times its weight in water. These two characteristics make it perfect for toilet paper.
While tree paper is also technically renewable, hemp paper products can be recycled more efficiently. Paper products from hemp can be recycled up to seven times, compared to only three times for paper products.
Hemp paper isn’t recycled into more toilet paper. That’s not how recycled toilet paper works. Instead, recycled toilet paper comes from other paper products.
Since hemp paper products are not as widely used as tree paper products, this toilet paper is not usually made of recycled hemp paper. It could easily be done, though.
Hemp has over 500 naturally occurring compounds, and a majority of them have antibacterial properties. Hemp toilet paper retains these antibacterial benefits because harsh chemicals are not required for the production process.
Technically all toilet paper is biodegradable. Traditional toilet paper takes longer to break down than hemp toilet paper. This is because of the chemicals used during production. Even when traditional toilet paper does break down, chemicals like bleach and chlorine end up in the water supply. Hemp toilet paper, on the other hand, is completely safe as it breaks down.
270,000 trees per day are cut down to service the world’s toilet paper needs. A large majority of these trees come from Canada’s boreal forests. Some of the trees are up to 200 years old, and they are cut down to be flushed down the toilet.
Not to mention all of the animals and indigenous people who are losing their homes.15 million trees, 473 billion gallons of water, 253 thousand tons of chlorine, and 17.3 terawatts of electricity are used annually to produce America’s toilet paper supply.
Switching completely to hemp paper would save 15 million trees and eliminate the need for 253 thousand tons of chlorine annually. The hemp plant only takes 4 months to reach maturity, while trees used for paper production take 8 to 20 years.
The Hemp Farming Act of 2018 made hemp legal to grow in the United States for the first time in decades. Since hemp is easy to grow and is friendly to the soil, virtually every American farmer could work hemp into their crop rotation.
The best part of this hemp-heavy future is farmers would also be able to make money off of other parts of the plant as well.
What Else Can the Hemp Plant Be Used For?
There are many uses of the hemp plant. In addition to hemp paper products, hemp bast fibers are used for textiles. This includes industrial textiles like:
These fibers are also used for commercial textiles, such as:
Hemp seed oil is extracted from hemp seeds. It is used in hygiene products like soap, shampoo, and lotions. It is also used in industrial products like fuel, oil paints, printing ink, and varnishes.
Finally, the flower of the hemp plant can be smoked. It is used to make hemp cigarettes and also sold as-is so customers can roll their own. Our specialty is a smokable hemp flower, but we believe products like hemp toilet paper have a bright future.