BREAKING DOWN THE HEMP CROP ~ PART 1 ~ FIBRE
Are you as impressed as we are with all the amazing uses of hemp?
In addition to the high nutritional value for humans and animals in this miracle crop, it’s also super healthy for the environment.
There are a many things that make this crop so wonderful. One of them is how much of the plant can be used to supply solutions to customer demands. Since different parts of the plant have different benefits, we’re going to break it down one part at a time starting with the fibre.
Also known as bast is one of the most productive parts of the plant. It derives a great deal of products and is embraced for its excellent strength and durability. The hemp plant produces both long and short fibre, each having its own uses.
One of the earliest uses of hemp fibre was for cordage on ships. Its strength, durability, and resistance to rot made it a great option for sailors.
Another pioneer user of hemp fibre was Levi Strauss. He gained popularity in Western USA during the gold rush offering a strong, resilient pants to miners.
Taken from the exterior of the plant, the long fibre is considered the bark of the stalk. It stretches the entire length of the plant, and can therefore produce a fibre over 10 feet in length – depending on the height of the finished crop.
This makes it ideal for textiles as it offers a continuous “thread” which does not break down as quickly as its competitor, cotton. Cotton fibres are less than 1% of that length, averaging 1-2mm. This shorter length inevitably results in faster wear in cotton products.
The insulative effect of hemp fibre makes it an ideal multi-season garment as it keeps you cooler in the summer, and warmer in the winter. Its anti-bacterial properties also make it attractive as a textile, cordage, and paper product.
Considered a secondary or bi-product of the long-fibre, as the name suggests, the difference is in its length. Despite the short fibre not being as strong as the long fibre, it is still considered superior and stronger than many other fibres being used in the textile industry.
The short fibre is collected during the process of separating the fibre from the hurd in the hemp stalk. This secondary product offers first class solutions to demand for products like textiles, paper products, auto-body parts, and building materials.
Being able to use multiple parts of this miracle crop certainly makes it attractive. The yield per acre planted increases, and waste decreases. If you are a conscious customer looking for an environmentally friendly alternative that passes the quality test, hemp has you covered.
As mentioned, the hemp plant provides many commercial uses. Stay tuned for the next post all about the hemp hurd.
About the Author ~ Leah Feor
Leah is a strategic advisor and content creator for Simply Sustainable™. Balancing a triple bottom line for organizations and individuals is her utmost goal. She’s a big picture thinker with an eye for detail. Her passion for the environment and social impact bring her business background to life. Outdoor adventures, healthy living, and continuous learning are just a few of her favourite things. simplysustainableblog.com