Hemp plastics, Henry Ford used hemp-and-sisal cellulose plastic to build car doors and fenders in 1941. On video Henry Ford demonstrated that his hemp cars were more resistant to blows from a sledgehammer than steel-bodied cars were.
The basic building block of plastics is cellulose taken from petroleum, but toxic petrochemical compositions are not the only way to derive plastics. Plastics can be derived from plant cellulose, and since hemp is the greatest cellulose producer on Earth (hemp hurds can be 85% cellulose), it only makes sense to make non-toxic, biodegradable plastic from hemp and other organics, instead of letting our dumps fill up with refuse. Hemp hurds can also be processed into cellophane packing material, which was common until the 1930s, or they may be manufactured into a low-cost, compostable replacement for Styrofoam.
A recent technological advance with biodegradable plastics made from cornstarch has led to a new material based on hemp. Hemp Plastics (Australia) have sourced partners who have been able to produce a new 100% biodegradable material made entirely from hemp and corn. This new material has unique strength and technical qualities which have yet to be seen before, and this new material can be injection or blow-molded into virtually any shape using existing moulds, including cosmetic containers, Frisbee golf discs, etc.
Zellform (Austrian) has created a hemp-plastic resin called Hempstone, for use in musical instruments, loudspeakers, and furniture. Hempstone can be carved in almost any shape making the number of applications unlimited.
Hemp is already being made into compressed door panel and dashboards. Carmakers such as Ford, GM, Chrysler, Saturn, BMW, Honda, and Mercedes are currently using hemp composite door panels, trunks, head liners, etc.
These hemp composites are less expensive than dangerous fiberglass counterparts. Hemp fiberglass replacements would only cost 50 to 70 cents a pound. These hemp composites could replace carbon and glass fibers, which have environmental and weight problems, and run from 60 cents to 5 dollars a pound.
The reason why virtually all European car makers are switching to hemp based door panels, columns, seat backs, boot linings, floor consoles, instrument panels, and other external components is because the organic hemp based products are lighter, safer in accidents, recyclable, and more durable.
The possibilities are endless with hemp plastics and resins, and bio-composites. Virtually any shape and purpose can be fulfilled by bio-composite plastics. Hemp plastics are already on the rise, it is only a matter of time before we will see the need to grow hemp in the United States to meet our demands. (In case you don’t know, petroleum plastic water bottles take 450- 1,200 years to biodegrade.) As Hemp Plastic notes, “conventional plastic is not biodegradable,” and it’s also not an infinite resource – oil is required to make plastic, further depleting the planet’s natural resources that could be used for other things. The high cellulose content in hemp makes it tough enough to be made into a plastic – since hemp grows so much faster than trees and produces four times as much cellulose fiber, it is also sustainable.
Since hemp plastic can’t be made transparent at the present time, they can’t make a clear film out of it to place the ubiquitous Saran Wrap. Lego is even looking into hemp plastics and other eco-friendly products.
Hemp can prevent the extensive cutting down of trees, and we can substitute hemp plastics for many of the things we use fiberglass, wood, and traditional plastic for. Hemp grows many, many time faster than trees, it’s a low-water crop compared to wheat, its sustainable, and it biodegrades much faster. Hemp seed has been recommended in nutritional supplements, and may reduce your risk for heart attacks. Hemp doesn’t need pesticides nor fertilizer and is much less damaging to the environment than the typical corn crop. Hemp evens cleans the soil. Hemp seed has been called nutritionally complete and the plants can also restores depleted soils in farming fields. Hemp can be used so universally, it’s a wonder we ever made it illegal in the first. Right now, most hemp plastic must be bought in bulk, although Hemp Plastics will make a mold if you pay for it (it’s not cheap). At Hemp Plastics, you can buy raw hemp materials that you can use in a factory for injection molding It is scratch resistant, fireproof, UV proof, biodegradable, and compostable, which you certainly can’t say for traditional plastic. 22 states have all ready legalized industrial hemp and cannabis, 28 states to go!! 🌱