Many of the clothes we wear come with a highly negative environmental 'pricetag': valuable resources, such as land and water, are consumed extensively and increased use of pesticides and harmful petrochemicals are an inherent part of the manufacturing process. Clothes made out of hemp, however, avoid most of these problems without compromising comfort. Check out these great hemp facts to find out exactly how eco-friendly hemp is and why your next clothing item should be made of hemp.
8 Facts About Hemp
1. Hemp Use Throughout History
Hemp has been grown for at least the last 10,000 years in Asia and the Middle East for clothing, art, paper, and food. Since then it has moved to the West and is grown across Europe. Up until the late 1930's, hemp was also widely grown in the United States to make clothing and even the first American flag by Betsy Ross. Hemp clothing was a normal part of life in the US until the 1930's when it became a threat for the timber, oil and plastic industries. Click here to find out more about the history of hemp.
2. Less Resources And Chemicals
Growing hemp is most often done without the use of any fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides. A lot less water is required to grow hemp than cotton, bamboo, and synthetic fibers. This makes the whole process more affordable, sustainable, and eco-responsible. Hemp also grows readily in most temperate regions.
3. More Durable
Hemp is the most durable of natural fibers, three times the strength of cotton fibers. It is also lightweight and absorbent. Hemp is UV and mold-resistant, and is excellent for outdoor wear. Hemp clothing is therefore a lot more durable than normal fabrics allowing you to keep your clothes longer.
Hemp plants have many uses from the fibers of their stalks to the seeds that are used to make oils. The products that can be made from hemp number over 25,000 making the hemp plant very versatile and allowing it to be used in all sorts of clothing and fabrics. This also means that no part of the hemp plant is wasted.
5. More Fiber, Less Land
Hemp can produce 250% more fiber than cotton and 600% more fiber than flax using the same amount of land. This eliminates the amount of soil needed to produce clothing.
6. Soil Revitalization
When most plants grow, they deplete the soil of nutrients and make it harder for the next crop to be grown. Hemp actually revitalizes the soil it grows in, both by aerating the soil and through the deposit of carbon dioxide in to it. This makes hemp ideal for crop rotation.
7. Not A Drug
Despite criticism from ill-informed people, marijuana and hemp plants are very different. The chemical responsible for inducing the psychoactive effects of marijuana, THC, has levels so low in industrial hemp that no one could get high from smoking it. In fact, hemp has less than 1% of THC content whereas marijuana can have up to 20% of THC content. More convincingly perhaps, marijuana, broccoli and cauliflower all come from the same plant genus, as does hemp, yet no one considers broccoli and cauliflower to be drugs.
8. Hemp Grown In Other Developed Countries
The United States is the only developed nation in which industrial hemp is not an established crop. Germany, Great Britain, Canada, France, Australia and other countries are growing it and importing hemp products to the United States. These countries have already realized the environmental advantages of hemp products. Currently, many organizations are trying to lift the ban on hemp here in the United States. You can become informed about current legal matters, write letters to Congress, and even volunteer to help increase awareness about the eco-benefits of hemp through VoteHemp.
Where To Buy Hemp Clothing
Bridging the gap between eco-friendly and eco-chic is increasingly easier as hemp clothing is becoming more popular and readily available. Check out these great websites to see all the different types and styles of hemp clothing available from hats and handbags to shirts and shoes: Hemp Sisters, Vital Hemptations, Rawganique, Sweet Grass, and The Hempest.
This year May 17th-23rd is Hemp History Week in the United States, organized by the Hemp Industries Association (HIA) and Vote Hemp in an effort to mobilize, support and raise awareness about the many benefits of hemp. Events will be taking place all over the country and will focus on federal legislative change. Check out these great organizations to figure out how you can get involved!
Do you currently wear hemp clothing? Do you think hemp clothes live up to their reputation? Share your opinions on hemp clothing below in our comment box!
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