The cannabis market is getting more attention than ever. One aspect of cannabis production that is coming under the spotlight is sustainability.
There are many aspects to this. For example, we covered the topic of what is the most sustainable way to smoke weed. However, on the commercial side of things, it is up to businesses to make sure sustainability is a priority.
It turns out that growing cannabis requires a fair amount of energy and resources. There is so much time and money going into growing the product. It just makes sense to reduce waste and use the product wherever possible.
Waste in this industry actually presents companies with opportunities to find ways to create new products for profit. There are specific cultivars of cannabis that are more suited for industrial hemp applications, such as fibre and seed production. There are still opportunities to use byproducts and waste materials from cannabis cultivars that are used for flower or resin production though.
Hemp Products Making A Historic Comeback
Most of us have seen hemp rolling papers recently, but hemp bast fibres are perfect for use in clothes and textiles. Of course there is a fair amount of processing required to turn a weed plant into a strong and durable material. But if a cannabis producer is looking at a huge pile of stalks at the end of a grow cycle, it seems like it could be a good thing to look into.
Cannabis merch is big business and hemp clothing made from flower producing plants could be a good avenue to explore. Clothing made from hemp fibres was commonplace in recent history before cotton took over. Hemp has actually been used for clothing for thousands of years and there is evidence of it all over the place.
It shows how close the cannabis plant has been to humans throughout history! One of the most interesting uses of hemp is in the creation of art materials, including canvas and paints. Hemp has been used as a canvas material for centuries. It used to be an ideal choice for artists before cotton took over in the 19th century.
Using hemp for canvas was ideal because it is strong, durable, and pretty resistant to water and pests. Hemp canvas was also much stretch resistant so it wouldn’t warp over time. This was important for artists because they did not want damaged or cracked paintings!
Hemp has always been a relatively inexpensive material too so it was always accessible. This is why hemp products were used to create famous art works by Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt van Rijn and Vincent van Gogh. van Gogh is one of the most prolific artists who chose hemp for his canvas and paints in his work. The Starry Night is one of van Gogh’s most famous paintings. It was created on a hemp canvas in 1889. The painting depicts a swirling night sky, and is now part of the collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.
Painting Hemp in a New Light in Modern Times
What is more sustainable than a piece of art that is still around over one hundred years later? Well… potentially lots of things. Art materials are useful, but there are a whole host of ways to deal with cannabis plant waste and make waste useful.
Hemp is fast becoming a feature in many different parts of the modern world. The woody core, or hurd, of the cannabis plant can be used to create environmentally friendly building materials like hempcrete. This is a lightweight insulating construction material that is making developments greener and more sustainable.
There is also a fair amount of research going into the development of bioplastics and biocomposite materials made from cannabis plant waste. These materials have the potential to replace petroleum-based plastics in various applications. Moving away from fossil fuel derived plastic will be great for reducing plastic waste and lowering the environmental impact of a wide range of products. This is mainly because hemp products can be designed to be compostable or biodegradable.
Of course, consumers can do their bit to make the cannabis industry more sustainable. Ultimately it is up to the industry to put its best foot forward when it comes to sustainability.
By maximising the use of waste materials from growing cannabis, producers can ensure they are doing their bit for the environment, as well as potentially generating new revenue streams while they are at it. All it takes is a look into the recent past of hemp use in society to see the wood for the trees (cannabis plants).