Hemp, like bamboo is considered a sustainable crop. It requires little water to grow, and it is resistant to most pests and diseases. The hemp plant’s broad leaves shade out weeds and other plant competitors, and its deep taproot system allows it to draw moisture deep in the soil. Unlike cotton, many parts of the hemp plant have a use. Hemp seeds, for example, are processed into oil or food. Hemp fibre comes in two types: primary and secondary bast fibres. Hemp fibres are durable and are considered strong enough for construction uses. Compared to cotton fibre, hemp fibre is approximately 8 times the tensile strength and 4 times the durability.
Hemp fibres are traditionally coarse, and have been historically used for ropes rather than for clothing. However, modern technology and breeding practices have made hemp fiber more pliable, softer, and finer.
Hemp is considered by a 1998 study in Environmental Economics to be environmentally friendly due to a decrease of land use and other environmental impacts, indicating a possible decrease of ecological footprint in a US context compared to typical benchmarks.
The world-leading producer of hemp is China, with smaller production in Europe, Chile and North Korea. Over thirty countries produce industrial hemp, including Australia, Austria, Canada, Chile, China, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey and Ukraine.
Hemp can be very like both linen and cotton in fabric form, but it has many advantages from an environmental perspective. It doesn’t need to be sprayed with pesticides, it doesn’t need as much water and it grows quickly and almost anywhere.
Disadvantages for using hemp include –
- Hemp is a very heavy, coarse fabric and can be rough and irritant to sensitive skin.
- The growing of hemp is restricted in many countries.
- Hemp is seen to consumers as rough, coarse and undesirable as a garment fabric.
- Hemp is eco-friendly, requires little water to grow, resistant to most pests and diseases so doesn’t need pesticides and can grow just about anywhere.
- Provides jobs for farmers and sustainable communities.