Hemp to Save Our Trees

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BY: Lillian Richard

Hemp to Save Our Trees

Worldwide we are seeing a devastation of our forests due to paper production. Consumption of wood products has risen 64% since 1961. Globally, pulp for paper, has risen from 40% in 1998, to an expected 60% over the next 50 years. The industry expects that demand to double by 2050. The U.S. consumes 200,000,000 tons of wood products annually, increasing by 4% every year. U.S. paper producers consume 1 billion trees each year (735 pounds of paper for every American). U.S. at 5% of world population consumes 30% of world’s paper. Only 5% of virgin forests remain in the U.S.

The pulp and paper industry is the 3rd largest industrial polluter – 220 million pounds of toxic pollution into air and water each year. Deforestation has released an estimated 120 billion tons of coz into the air. Three million tons of chlorine, a major source of carcinogen dioxin, is dumped into our waterways each year from paper companies. Every woman alive today carries some trace of dioxin in her breast milk. Dioxin is considered one of the most toxic substances ever produced and has been linked to cancer, liver failure, miscarriage, birth defects, and genetic damage. Lillian Richard

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Hemp to Save Our Trees Continued

The annual global consumption of paper will rise (from 300 million tons in 1997) to over 400 million tons by 2010, according to the Pulp and Paper Industry. This will exacerbate the problems of deforestation unless another pulp source is realized.

This is where Hemp comes in. Industrial hemp could save our trees. The USDA reported in 1916 that an acre of hemp produced as much paper as four acres of trees annually, yet 70% of American forests have been destroyed since 1916. Hemp would make a wonderful alternative to wood for use as paper. Hemp paper is stronger, with similar mass, absorbency, and thickness as commercial paper. Industrial hemp means “any specimen of the plant Cannabis sativa L., whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration which does not exceed one percent, on a dry weight basis; or any part of such specimen, the seeds thereof, the resin extracted from any such specimen, or every compound manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of such specimen, its seeds or resin.” Lillian Richard

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Hemp is a non-psychoactive cousin to the marijuana plant. For thousands of years hemp was used to make dozens of commercial products like paper, rope, canvas and textiles. In fact, the very name “canvas” comes from the Dutch word meaning cannabis.

The potential of hemp for paper production is enormous. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, one acre of hemp can produce 4 times more paper than one acre of trees! All types of paper products can be produced from hemp: newsprint, computer paper, stationary, cardboard, envelopes, toilet paper and even tampons.

There is no tree or plant species on Earth capable of producing as much paper per acre as hemp. Paper production from hemp would eliminate the need to chop down billions of trees. Millions of acres of forests and huge areas of wildlife habitat could be preserved.

Lillian Richard
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Trees must grow for 20 to 50 years after planting before they can be harvested for commercial use. Within 4 months after it is planted, hemp grows 10 to 20 feet tall and it is ready for harvesting. Hemp can be grown on most farmland throughout the U.S. where forests require large tracts of land available in few locations. Substituting hemp for trees would save forests and wildlife habitats and would eliminate erosion of topsoil due to logging. Reduction of topsoil erosion would also reduce pollution of lakes, rivers and streams.

Fewer caustic and toxic chemicals are used to make paper from hemp than are used to make paper from trees. Hemp paper does...
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