Some cannabis plant strains regularly reach tree-like heights of 20 feet or more in one growing season.
The new paper process used hemp hurds77% of the hemp stalks weight, which was then a wasted by-product of the fiber stripping process.
If the hemp pulp paper process of 1916 were in use today, it could replace 40 to 70% of all pulp paper, including corrugated boxes, computer printout paper, and paperbags.
In 1916, USDA Bulletin No. 404 (see picture), reported that one acre of cannabis hemp, in annual rotation over a 20-year period, would produce as much pulp for paper as 4.1 acres of trees being cut down over the same 20-year period. This process would use only 1/7 to 1/4 as much polluting sulfur-based acid chemicals to break down the glue-like lignin that binds the fibers of the pulp, or even none at all using soda ash. All this lignin must be broken down to make pulp. Hemp pulp is only 4-10% lingin, while trees are 18-30% lignin. The problem of dioxin contamination of rivers is avoided in the hemp papermaking process, which does not need to use chlorine bleach (as the wood pulp paper making process requires), but instead substitutes safer hydrogen peroxide in the bleaching process.
Thus hemp provides four times as much pulp with at least four to seven times less pollution.
As we have seen, this hemp pulp-paper potential depended on the invention and the engineering of new machines for stripping the hemp by modern technology. This would also lower demand for lumber and reduce the cost of housing, while at the same time helping re-oxygenate the planet.1
1. Dewey & Merrill, Bulletin 404, US Department of Agriculture 1916; Billion-Dollar Crop, Popular Mechanics, 1938; U.S. Agricultural Indexes, 1916 through 1982; New Scientist, November 13, 1980.
As an example: If the new (1916) hemp pulp paper process were in use legally today, it would soon replace about 70% of all wood pulp paper, including computer printout paper, corrugated boxes, and paper bags.
Pulp paper made from 60-100% hemp hurds is stronger and more flexible than paper made from wood pulp. Making paper from wood pulp damages the environment. Hemp papermaking does not.
(Dewey & Merrill, Bulletin #404, U.S.D.A., 1916; New Scientist, 1980; Kimberly Clark production from its giant French hemp-fiber paper subsidiary De Mauduit, 1937 through 1984.)
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