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Sustainable Hemp Packaging is the Future of Industrial Packaging

By Vishal Vivek
 

The future of packaging is ripe for capitalization by the drivers of sustainability culture. With the battle lines drawn and forces at play in motion, change is now inevitable. The question arises: how quickly can the industry grow in the space of the next decade?

With an increasing number of nations banning non-biodegradable and petroleum-based plastics in certain uses, the choices at hand have naturally led to bioplastics. Bioplastics are a major ingredient of the renewable packaging industry. We derive them from various renewable agricultural crops, of which hemp is among the chief examples.

The Change for Hemp

The legal ramifications of the European Green Deal and the American Farm Bill of 2018 have created a microcosm where the sustainability discussion has turned into corporate initiatives for crops like industrial hemp, which are a source for bioplastics and numerous other products. The smaller carbon footprint of industrial hemp plays its role in shaping consumer demands towards a greener future.

Farmers are now able to cultivate the plant in the U.S., due to its removal from the list of controlled substances. Agribusinesses and manufacturers are aware of the plant’s versatility, with uses in packaging, building construction, clothing, medicinal oils, edibles like protein powder and hemp hearts, hemp paper and rope. What was once George Washington’s strong consideration as a cash crop for his estate, may gradually become the world’s cash crop of choice.

Hemp’s Sustainability Beckons 

Why is the crop unanimously superior in the aspect of eco-friendliness? Its growing requirements are frugal: water, soil nutrients and pesticides are not needed in large quantities. It absorbs great quantities of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and uses it to create 65-75% cellulose content within its biomass. Cellulose is vital in the manufacture of bioplastics. Hemp is also flexible within crop cycles, due to its small harvesting period of only 4 months.



Thus, farmers use it as a rotational crop, allowing them to also cultivate other crops after its harvest. High-quality crops like cotton, though superior in cellulose content and fibrous softness, require far more water quantities, soil nutrients and pesticides. Farmers face greater difficulties in cultivating cotton as a rotational crop, because it requires far more space and time.

Hemp Bioplastics For Packaging                                

We manufacture bioplastics from the hurd and cellulose of the hemp plant. Hemp bioplastics are biodegradable, and take up to a maximum of 6 months to completely decompose; by contrast, normal fossil-fuel-based plastic takes up to 1000 years to decompose.

Manufacturers incorporate these ingredients into existing manufacturing processes for regular plastics, such as injection molding. Thus, we can apply bioplastic ingredients to similar plastics applications, such as packaging, paneling, medical equipment and more. New technologies aren’t necessarily needed, so companies and manufacturers do not have any reservations about its viability as an industry.

Here are a few types of bioplastics derived from hemp:

  1. Hemp Cellulose-based Bioplastics

This is a substance found in plant cell walls. We use cellulose to manufacture a broad range of unique plastics, including celluloid, rayon and cellophane. These plastics are usually entirely organic. We mix cellulose and its variations (such as nanocellulose, made from cellulose nanocrystals) with other ingredients, such as camphor, to produce thermoplastics and the like. Using natural polymer, we process a broad range of bioplastics and corresponding polymers. The difference in their chemical properties is down to the nature of the polymer chains and the extent of crystallization.

  1. Composite Hemp-based Bioplastics

Composite plastics comprise organic polymers like hemp cellulose, as well as an addition of synthetic polymers. They also have reinforcement fibers to improve the strength of the bioplastic, which are also either organic or synthetic. Sometimes, we blend hemp cellulose with other organic polymers like shellac and tree resins. Inorganic fillers include fiberglass, talc and mica.



We call any natural polymer, when blended with synthetic polymers, a “bio composite” plastic. We measure and calibrate these ingredients according to the desired stiffness, strength and density of the eventual plastic product. Apart from packaging, manufacturers use these bioplastics for furniture, car panels, building materials and biodegradable bags.

A composite of polypropylene (PP), reinforced with natural hemp fibers, showed that hemp has a tensile strength akin to that of conventional fiberglass composites. Furthermore, malleated polypropylene (MAPP) composites, fortified with hemp fibers, significantly improved stress-enduring properties compared to conventional fiberglass composites.

  1. Pure Organic Bioplastics With Hemp

We have already generated several bioplastics entirely from natural plant substances like hemp. Hemp fibers, when made alkaline with diluted sodium hydroxide in low concentrations, exhibit superior tensile strength. We have produced materials from polylactic acid (PLA) fortified with hemp fibers. These plastic materials showed superior strength than ones containing only PLA. For heavy-duty packaging, manufacturers use hemp fibers reinforced with biopolyhydroxybutyrate (BHP), which are sturdy enough.



With the world in a state of major change due to the coronavirus outbreak of 2020, the focus is back on packaging and delivery. In this volatile area, perhaps the industry can learn a few new tricks, instead of suffocating itself in old traditions and superficial opportunism. The permutations and combinations of bioplastic technology can serve a swath of packaging applications. We must thoroughly explore this technology.

Hemp’s Future in Packaging

Fossil fuel-based plastic polymers are non-renewable, highly pollutive and dangerous to ecosystems, due to their lifespans. They are some of the most destructive inventions of man, but thankfully could be held back by this crop. Industrial hemp upheld countless industries through human history and now is making a comeback. After existing in relative obscurity in the U.S. due to false connotations with the psychoactive properties of its cousin, it is now back in business.

With the American hemp industry on the verge of a revolution, hemp packaging is primed to take over a significant part of the global packaging sector. The political, economic and environmental incentives for companies to adopt bioplastics are legion. Its lower cost lends to its allure as well. Consumers and agribusinesses are following suit, making the choice to be environmentally-conscious. By 2030, it is estimated that 40% of the plastics industry will be bioplastics.

We can only mitigate the plastic pollution in oceans, landfills and elsewhere, with the use of biodegradable bioplastics; otherwise, animals, humans and plants are getting adversely affected by imperceptible microplastics that pervade vast regions of the Earth. With hemp bioplastics, we use the cleaner, renewable matter of plants to conserve the planet’s sanctity. We can expect this new technology to continue to light the way for other nations, societies and companies to build upon this sustainable plan.


About The Author

Vishal Vivek
CEO & Co-Founder

Vishal Vivek is the CEO and Co-Founder at Hemp Foundation. Hemp Foundation’s mission is to fight global warming, plastic pollution, deforestation and wild species extinction through promotion of hemp in fashion industry and at the same time provide jobs to marginalized communities of artisans and farmers in rural Himalayan villages and give them global reach.

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How industrial hemp is made

Hemp is a distinct variety of the plant species Cannabis sativa L. that grows to a height anywhere from 4-15 ft (1.2-4.5 m) and up to 0.75 in (2 cm) in diameter. The plant consists of an inner layer called the pith surrounded by woody core fiber, which is often referred as hurds. Bast fibers form the outer layer. The primary bast fiber is attached to the core fiber by pectin—a glue-like substance. The primary fibers are used for textiles, cordage, and fine paper products. The wood-like core fiber is used for animal bedding, garden mulch, fuel, and an assortment of building materials.

Due to the similar leaf shape, hemp is frequently confused with marijuana, another cannabis plant. The major difference is their tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content, the ingredient that produces the high when smoked. Marijuana can contain as much as 20% THC, compared to less than 1% for industrial hemp. Despite this difference, some countries are reluctant to legalize growing of hemp (especially the United States), since there is a fear this will make it more difficult to control the use of the drug. Most hemp varieties also have a hollow stalk that have a very high fiber content (35%), in contrast to marijuana varieties that usually have a solid stalk having low fiber content (15%).

Canada is one country that has legalized hemp, though with certain restrictions. The maximum allowable THC concentration is 0.3% and all hemp farmers are required to undergo a criminal-records check, as well as obtain a license from Health Canada. Despite these restrictions, hemp production has increased threefold in just a year, from 6, 175 acres (61.75 hectares) harvested in 1998 to nearly 20,000 acres (200 hectares) in 1999. Over 95% of the acres grown in 1999 in Canada were for hemp grain.

Farmers who grow hemp claim it is a great rotation crop and can be substituted for almost any harvest. It grows without requiring pesticides and is good at aerating the soil. On a per-acre basis, one estimate claims hemp nets farmers more income ($250-$300) than either corn or soybeans ($100-$200). A full crop of hemp only takes 90 days to grow, yielding four times more paper per acre, when compared over a similar 20 year period with redwood trees in the northwest United States. However, there are other varieties of trees that yield two to three times more than hemp.

Advocates of hemp claim that it can be used in 25,000 different products, from clothing to food to toiletries. Until the nineteenth century, hemp was used in 90% of ships’ canvas sails, rigging, and nets (and thus it was a required crop in the American colonies). Today, hemp fiber is being used as a replacement for fiberglass in automotive components and made into cloth for window dressings, shower curtains, and upholstery. China is the world’s largest producer of hemp fabric, whereas India produces the most hemp overall.

Other products made from hemp fiber include: insulation, particleboard, fiberboard, rope, twine, yarn, newsprint, cardboard, paper, horse stable bedding, and compost. Hemp bedding has been found superior to straw and other materials for horse stalls in reducing the smell of ammonia. Hemp seed is used to make methanol and heating oil, salad oil, pharmaceuticals, soaps, paint, and ink.

Currently 32 countries, including Canada, Great Britain, France, and China, allow farmers to grow industrial hemp. The current hemp market for sales and exports in North America is estimated at between $50-$ 100 million per year. Unites States imports of industrial woven fabrics made from hemp totaled $2.9 million in 1997. Import volume jumps to around $40 million when other products—such as paper, shampoo, and oil—are included. Textile uses of hemp represent 5% of hemp products produced in Canada.

History

Hemp was the first plant to be domestically cultivated around 8000 B.C. in Mesopotamia (present-day Turkey). Hemp was grown for fiber and food. It was recorded as being harvested in central Asia around 6500 B.C. Several centuries later, China started growing hemp as a crop and later used it in medicine. By 2700 B.C. , the Middle East, Africa, and most of Asia used hemp for fabric, rope, medicine, and food. Hemp was introduced to Europe 400 years later. The oldest surviving piece of paper, a 100% Chinese hemp parchment, was dated to A.D. 770.

From 1000 B.C. to the nineteenth century, hemp was the world’s largest agricultural crop, where it was also used for paper and lamp oil. During this period, several well-known books, including the Bible and Alice in Wonderland, were printed on hemp paper, and several famous artists painted on hemp canvas. The first crop in North America was planted by a French botanist in Nova Scotia in 1606. Thomas Jefferson drafted the United States Declaration of Independence on hemp paper and grew hemp him-self. Two centuries later, the United States and Canada put a stop cannabis cultivation in 1937 with the Marijuana Tax Act (this put a one dollar per ounce tax on any hemp manufacturers), which was later lifted during the World War II effort.

Global production of hemp has been declining since the 1960s, from over 300,000 short tons (272,160 t) of hemp fiber and tow in 1961 to 69,000 short tons (62,597t) in 1997. China accounts for 36% of this production and 73% of grain production. This has dropped from 80,000 to 37, 000 short tons (72,576 to 33,566 t) over the same period. Around 1994, there were 23 paper mills using hemp fiber, at an estimated world production of 12,000 short tons (10,886 t) per year. Most of these mills were located in China and India for producing printing and writing paper. Others produced specialty papers, including cigarette paper. The average hemp pulp and paper mill produces around 5,000 short tons (4,536 t) per year, compared to wood pulp mills at 250,000 short tons (226,800t) per year.

However, in the last decade, the number of companies trading in and manufacturing hemp products has increased dramatically. The North America market is still in its infancy since Canada just legalized hemp production and sale in 1998. Hemp cultivation tests in the United States began a year later though it is still illegal to grow it commercially.

Raw Materials

Fiber processing uses few chemicals, if any at all. However, the fiber may be blended with other materials, such as synthetic fibers or resins as binders, depending on the final product being made. For paper making, water and chemicals (sodium hydroxide or sulfur compounds) are mixed with the fibers to remove the natural glue components.

The Manufacturing Process

Cultivation and harvesting

Hemp is an annual plant that grows from seed. It grows in a range of soils, but tends to grow best on land that produces high yields of corn. The soil must be well drained, rich in nitrogen, and non-acidic. Hemp prefers a mild climate, humid atmosphere, and a rainfall of at least 25-30 in (64-76 cm) per year. Soil temperatures must reach a minimum of 42-46°F (5.5-7.7°C) before seeds can be planted.

  • 1 The crop is ready for harvesting high quality fiber when the plants begin to shed pollen, in mid-August for North America. Harvesting for seed occurs four to six weeks later. Fiber hemp is normally ready to harvest in 70-90 days after seeding. A special machine with rows of independent teeth and a chopper is used. To harvest hemp for textiles, specialized cutting equipment is required. Combines are used for harvesting An example of hemp and hemp fibers.An example of hemp and hemp fibers. grain, which are modified to avoid machine parts being tangled up with bast fiber.
  • 2 Once the crop is cut, the stalks are allowed to rett (removal of the pectin [binder] by natural exposure to the environment) in the field for four to six weeks—depending on the weather—to loosen the fibers. While the stalks lay in the field, most of the nutrients extracted by the plant are returned to the soil as the leaves decompose. The stalks are turned several times using a special machine for even retting and then baled with existing hay harvesting equipment. Bales are stored in dry places, including sheds, barns, or other covered storage. The moisture content of hemp stalks should not exceed 15%. When planted for fiber, yields range from 2-6 short tons (1.8-5.4t) of dry stalks per acre, or from 3-5 short tons (2.7-4.5 t) of baled hemp stalks per acre in Canada.

Grain processing

  • 3 Hemp seeds must be properly cleaned and dried before storing. Extraction of oil usually takes place using a mechanical expeller press under a nitrogen atmosphere, otherwise known as mechanical cold pressing. Protection from oxygen, light, and heat is critical for producing a tasty oil with an acceptable shelf-life. Solvent extraction methods are also emerging for removing oil since they achieve higher yields. Such methods use hexan, liquid carbon dioxide, or ethanol as the solvent. Refining and deodorizing steps may be required for cosmetics manufacturers.
  • 4 A dehulling step, which removes the crunchy skin from the seed using a crushing machine, may be required. Modifications to existing equipment may be required to adequately clean the seeds of hull residues.

Fiber processing

  • 5 To separate the woody core from the bast fiber, a sequence of rollers (breakers) or a hammermill are used. The bast fiber is then cleaned and carded to the desired core content and fineness, sometimes followed by cutting to size and baling. After cleaning and carding, secondary steps are often required. These include matting for the production of non-woven mats and fleeces, pulping (the breakdown of fiber bundles by chemical and physical methods to produce fibers for paper making), and steam explosion, a chemical removal of the natural binders to produce a weavable fiber. Complete processing lines for fiber hemp have outputs ranging from 2-8 short tons/hour (1.8-7.2 t/hr).

Packaging

  • 6 The primary fiber is pressed into a highly compressed bale, similar to other fibers like cotton, wool, and polyester. Other products, such as horse bedding, are packaged in a compressed bale.

Paper making

  • 7 Bast fibers are usually used in paper, which are put into a spherical tank called a digester with water and chemicals. This mixture is heated for up to eight hours at elevated temperature and pressure until all fibers are separated from each other. Washing with excess water removes the chemicals and the extracted binding components (pectin). The clean fibers are then fed into a machine called a Hollander beater, which consists of a large tub equipped with a wheel revolving around a horizontal axis. This beating step, which lasts for up to 12 hours, cuts the fibers to the desired length and produces the required surface roughness for proper bonding. Bleaching chemicals are sometimes added during this step or to separate tanks with the fibers. The bleached pulp is then pumped to the paper machine or pressed to a dryness suitable for transportation to a paper mill at another location.

Quality Control

Hemp fibers are tested for tensile strength, fineness (fiber diameter), and the color is recorded. Moisture content is recorded during every stage of the growing and production process. The THC content of the plant is also contiguously tested to make sure that the level does not exceed the 0.3% mark. Research is still being conducted on the effects that hemp would have on the industry. Set standards are constantly being altered and changed.

Byproducts/Waste

The harvested hemp not used is burned. During fiber processing, the core fiber is saved and usually used to make paper, horse bedding, or construction materials. Most hemp producers recycle the core fiber by removing dust, then baling and packaging. The dust can be pressed into pellets used for fuel. The dirt and small chips of core are also used as a high nutrient soil additive.

The Future

Where it is legal, the hemp industry has been growing at an annual growth rate of 20%. Other potential uses are being developed. For instance, hemp meal has demonstrated it can be used as a food ingredient for aquiculture farms, specifically freshwater fish and shrimp. Even hemp beer has entered the Canadian market, though it is expected to remain a small part of beer sales. Composite materials for the building industry are also being investigated.

Using hemp as a source of food may become the largest application, since hemp seeds have much nutritional value. The seed contains essential fatty acids, protein, calcium, iron, zinc, and vitamins B, C, and E. Hemp seed can be made into oil or flour and can also be eaten whole, since it tastes similar to pine nuts or sunflower seeds.

The outlook for hemp in the United States is uncertain since it is still illegal to grow it. There are 10 states that passed legislation in 1998 to allow growing hemp for research purposes—Arkansas, California, Hawaii, Illinois, Minnesota, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, and Virginia—and a number of other states are considering it. However, federal law still prohibits growing industrial hemp. The Drug Enforcement Agency will have to change its mind before any market can be developed in the United States. Once that happens, hemp could become a billion dollar crop if there is enough investment and interest, prices are competitive, and high quality products can be made. Processing technology also needs to be upgraded for higher value-added products.

Where to Learn More

Books

Schreiber, Gisela.The Hemp Handbook. Munich, Germany: Wilhelm Heyne Verlag GMBH & Co. KG, 1997.

Periodicals

Adams, John. “Dope Idea: U. Minnesota Could Research Uses of Industrial Hemp.” Minnesota Daily (March 30, 1999).

Anonymous. “Ag Study: Market for Hemp is Thin.” Dese Moines Register (January 30, 2000).

Kane, Mari. “Hemp Industry Prepares to Grow.” In Business (November/December 1999).

Katz, Helena. “Smoking Out New Hemp Markets.” Marketing (November 22,1999).

Nickson, Carole. “All-purpose Hemp a Retail Find.” Home Textiles Today (November 15, 1999).

Sturgeon, Jeff. “Hemp-Gooods Shop Capitalizes on Plant’s Versatility.” The Roanoke Times (August 8, 1999).

von Roekel, Jr., Gertjan. “Hemp Pulp and Paper Production.” ATO-DLO Agrotechnology (1994).

von Steinberg, Bob. “In Canada, hemp hasn’t lived up to the hype.” Star Tribune (October 16, 1999).

Ward, Joe. “Hemp Advocates Assail U.S. Report.”Courier-Journal (January 26, 2000).

Other

Geofrey G. Kime, President, Hempline Inc. 11157 Longwoods Rd., Delaware, Ontario, Canada, NOL lEO. (519) 652-0440http://www.hempline.com . info@hempline.com.

North American Industrial Hemp Council, P.O. Box 259329, Madison, WI 53725-9329. (608) 258-0243http://www.naihc.org . info@naihc.org.

Peter Dragla. A Maritime Industrial Hemp Product Marketing Study. Canadian Department of Agriculture and Marketing, 1999. http://agri.gov.ns.ca/pt/agron/hemp/hemp-masaf.htm (January 2001).

— Laurel M. Sheppard

Read more: http://www.madehow.com/Volume-6/Industrial-Hemp.html#ixzz6VoWmAiBk

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Processing and Farming Equipment in the Hemp Industry

From cultivation to extraction, the hemp industry requires highly specialized technology to flourish.

AMANDA LUKETAAmanda Luketa is a freelance technical writer and former cannabis industry mechanical engineer. She believes strongly in helping others, federal legalization, and the power of curiosity. In her free time, she enjoys rock climbing and yoga.

With the passing of the Farm Bill, the hemp industry has seen a long-awaited boom in production and revenue. There are many uses for hemp, from textiles to products containing only CBD, with some companies even using hemp as a biomass energy source. The equipment for producing hemp products is complex and requires technology from various disciplines. Take a look at some of the specialized processing and farming equipment used within the hemp industry.

HEMP FARMING EQUIPMENT

There are many ways to grow hemp, with some methods being more sophisticated than others. Hemp farming requires substantial agricultural knowledge and research, as the exact equipment used will depend on the precise growing methodology.  

Another critical factor in which equipment a farmer chooses is whether or not the hemp will be used for textiles or for CBD oil. If used for textiles, hemp can be planted at a much higher density – up to 400,000 plants per square acres – but if CBD production is the goal, the density drops substantially to a maximum of around 1,600 plants per acre.

This is because textile hemp is grown similarly to wheat, with tall stalks that are then used for industrial applications. CBD hemp, on the other hand, is cultivated to be small and leafy, staying lower to the ground, with the plant’s flowers used for oil production.  

Here is some of the equipment involved in the hemp farming process:

Seed Drill

A seed drill streamlines the process of sowing hemp seeds and can be used to plant many acres of the crop efficiently.

Transplanter

If not starting from seeds, a transplanter can be used to move a substantial quantity of early hemp plants into the field, placing them with the appropriate spacing and position.

Combine

Also used for harvesting wheat, a combine is used to cut and collect the hemp stalks and grain material. This equipment is typically used when harvesting textile-based hemp crops, as it is a rough process that would compromise the structure of the plant when used for CBD production.

CBD Hemp Harvester

Explicitly designed to harvest hemp used for CBD oil production, this harvester works differently than the combine. The CBD hemp harvester carefully cuts each hemp plant and loads it onto a trailer, without damaging the plant’s structure. A typical harvester processes up to 5 acres of CBD hemp per day, and can also be used for cannabis crops.

HEMP PROCESSING EQUIPMENT

The bulk of the processing requirements for hemp consist of decortication. Hemp decortication is the process of separating the hemp fiber from the plant stalk. Hemp is also processed into CBD oil by companies in the hemp extraction space. Take a look at the cutting-edge technology designed for hemp processing:

Continuous Countercurrent Reactor for Decortication

The Continuous Countercurrent Reactor (CCR), developed by PureHemp Technology out of Fort Lupton, CO, is designed to streamline the decortication process. The reactor works by passing hemp stalks through the machine in the opposite direction as a liquid reagent, to efficiently separate the hemp into pulp and sugar co-products.

The CCR can be used for efficient biomass production, as part of the effort to reduce the planet’s dependency on fossil fuels.

R-2 Decorticator System

Developed by CannaSystems, a Canada-based company serving the industrial hemp industry, the R-2 decorticator is designed to be a semi-portable turnkey solution for separating hemp. The unit is a hydraulic, diesel-powered system, and can process up to five tons of hemp per hour.  

HempTrain for Consumer Products

This industrial powerhouse, developed by Canadian Greenfield, is designed to process and decorticate hemp into up to nine different products.

Applications for these products range from hemp-based kitty litter to hemp skin care products and potting mixes.

Precision KPD Series for Extraction

Designed to operate on an industrial scale, the Precision KPD extraction system can process over 25,000 pounds of hemp per day for manufacture into CBD oil. Features include a continuous feed system and compatibility with ethanol, heptane, or hexane as an extraction solvent.

GROWING HEMP IS A SCIENCE

Those considering entering the exciting space of hemp cultivation and processing must do thorough research before beginning an operation. Hemp is unique in that it draws from both conventional agricultural methods, as well as precise science from the cannabis industry. Growing hemp for CBD oil production may prove more of a challenge than for textiles, though both can provide a rewarding opportunity for the new or experienced farmer.

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SO WHAT DO YOU DO WITH ALL OF THE LEAVES, STALKS, STEMS, ROOTS, AND EVEN SOIL?

Biomass, or the leftover plant material, can be used in a numerous ways. Biomass comes in a number of its own varieties. Some farmers mulch the entire plant. Others focus solely on leaves or roots. Some solely use trim to create high-potency oils. Using biomass promotes regenerative, sustainable gardening, and can also be quite enjoyable.

Many farmers sell biomass to concentrate processors. This is a great way to increase revenue and build relationships within the local cannabis community.

These leftover materials can be used to make a number of specialized products. Take a look at just some of the ways to utilize the rest of your hemp and cannabis harvest.

WHAT TO DO WITH HEMP AND CANNABIS STALKS?

The stalks of hemp pants can be broken down and shipped off for use in all kinds of textile industries. These industries include building materials, garments, and even utility equipment. Businesses with accounts on Kush.comcan connect directly with buyers from across the nation. Create your free account now by clicking here.

If you don’t have a supply chain, and aren’t a member of Kush.com, then you could simply mulch them. Mulching can be done by shredding the stalks. Shredding creates more surface area for a quicker decomposition. Shredded stalks can be applied on top of the soil in your garden, yard or in the compost bin. 

Mulching or composting is very valuable, because it gives life back to the soil. In compost micro-organisms break down organic matter. This produces nitrogen and other minerals in the process. 

Mulched stalks can be returned to a crop next season. You could also use them to grow a variety of other crops if you choose, because it’s nutrient dense. 

In mulch, the shredded pieces of stalk decrease evaporation and allow the soil to hold moisture more effectively. This can be great for growing in arid, hot climates. 

A micro-biome is also created when mulch is applied to the ground as well. This creates an environment for beneficial bugs, bacteria, and other wildlife to grow and thrive

Stalks can be shredded by purchasing or renting a wood chipper. You could also simply mow them with a gas powered mower or tractor with a shredder attached.

WHAT TO DO WITH CANNABIS LEAVES?

Sugar leaves are rich and coated with trichomes giving them higher CBD and THC content. Although not as potent as their bud brothers and sisters, they can still be used to make tea, hash, or topical oils. 

For hash, sugar leaves can be dried, chopped, and further processed into hash or cannabutter. These processed items can go into a wide variety of products.

Larger fan leaves are perfect for making teas. Fan leaves can be dried and stored in a sealed container with a silicone packet to regulate moisture. When you’re ready, the leaves can be placed in a cup, bathed in hot water and sipped to your enjoyment and leisure. 

For oil production, a great number of leaves have to be collected. Once you have enough, press them to gain a rich oil that can be used in a multitude of products or distributed on it’s own.

WHAT TO DO WITH CANNABIS ROOTS?

As with all parts of biomass, roots can be used in a multitude of ways. Roots have a long history of medicinal use due to their anti-inflammatory properties. 

Roots can be brewed into a tea for gastrointestinal relief. They are also commonly processed into topical ointments or salves for skin ailments.  
Processing roots has been done for generations across the world. Creams and salves have been known to help with arthritis, gout, burns, rashes, and muscle pain. 

Want to give it a try at home? Boil some into your next cup of tea or process a few roots for use in a topical lotion to treat aches and pains. To learn more on the benefits of cannabis roots check out The National Library of Medicine.

WHAT TO DO WITH CANNABIS SOIL?

Let us not forget about the soil. Here is where all the magic begins. Feed the soil and it will feed your plant. 

At the end of the harvest, soil is low in minerals and nutrients, but can still be used a number of ways. If you plan on replanting in the same soil, try applying some minerals and additions. Compost or a seed starting solid fertilizer (NPK 4-4-4) are great places to start. 

Also, before planting any new seeds or started plants, give the soil a good till or cultivation. This can be as simple as stirring the new compost or fertilizer into the soil with your hand if it’s in pots. You could also get a cultivator and till up the ground if outdoors. This not only combines the soil with the new amendments, but it also introduces a vital compound into the equation, oxygen. 

This aerates the soil and allows life to grow more vigorously. In this case microorganisms and beneficial fungi. This simple task can go a long way in starting your next crop in the right direction. If you plan on replacing all your potting soil with new potting soil, the old soil can be composted as well. 

When going this route, be sure to combine the soil with as close to equal parts brown material ( dried leaves, dried stalks, dried “brown” organic matter) and green material (freshly cut “green” leaves, stems, veggies, etc.). This allows the compost to start it’s process of new life with the right balance of ingredients. 

Remember composting isn’t only decomposing matter, it’s also consuming matter. It’s about creating the right environment for beneficial bacteria, fungi, insects, and worms to live, work, and feed in harmony. Giving you a nutrient rich source for enriching your soil and growing healthy crops for years to come.

[PRO TIP] Remember that any plants or soil with pests or disease should not be composted. These will continue to grow and infect your compost bin and every future crop it is applied to. A trash heap, landfill, or burn pile is more suited place to dispose of it

#HEMPNATIONONE #hemp #leaves #stalks #roots #soil #garbagedoesntexist #material #life #regrowth #mulch #environment#

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Hemp fuels

Hemp fuels- Environmentally friendly fuel sources

The basics: Hemp can provide two types of fuel.
1.  Hemp biodiesel – made from the oil of the (pressed) hemp seed.
2.  Hemp ethanol/methanol – made from the fermented stalk.

To clarify further, ethanol is made from such things as grains, sugars, starches, waste paper and forest products, and methanol is made from woody/pulp matter. Using processes such as gasification, acid hydrolysis and enzymes, hemp can be used to make both ethanol and methanol.

In this day of oil wars, peak oil (and the accompanying soaring prices), climate change and oil spills such as the one in the gulf by BP, it’s more important than ever to promote sustainable alternatives such as hemp ethanol.  Hemp turns out to be the most cost-efficient and valuable of all the fuel crops we could grow on a scale that could fuel the world.

And as it turns out, the whole reason for hemp prohibition – and alcohol prohibition – may have been a fuel the realization that OIL production is threatened by any competing fuel source, especially one that requires no modifications to your car!

What is Hemp Biodiesel?
Hemp biodiesel is the name for a variety of ester based oxygenated fuels made from hemp oil.  The concept of using vegetable oil as an engine fuel dates back to 1895 when Dr. Rudolf Diesel developed the first diesel engine to run on vegetable oil. Diesel demonstrated his engine at the World Exhibition in Paris in 1900 using peanut oil as fuel.  Hemp biodiesel come from the pressing of the hemp seeds to extract the oil.  Through a process explained here , hemp biodiesel can be made.

Hemp biodiesel can be made from domestically produced, renewable oilseed crops such as hemp. With over 30 million successful U.S. road miles hemp biodiesel could be the answer to our cry for renewable fuel sources.  Learning more  about renewable fuels does not mean we should not cut back on consumption but does help address the environmental affects of our choices.  There is more to hemp as a renewable fuel source than you know

Why Hemp Biodiesel?

  • Biodiesel is the only alternative fuel that runs in any conventional, unmodified diesel engine.
  • It can be stored anywhere that petroleum diesel fuel is stored. Biodiesel is safe to handle and transport because it is as biodegradable as sugar, 10 times less toxic than table salt, and has a high flashpoint of about 300 F compared to petroleum diesel fuel, which has a flash point of 125 F.
  • Biodiesel can be made from domestically produced, renewable oilseed crops such as hemp.
  • Biodiesel is a proven fuel with over 30 million successful US road miles, and over 20 years of use in Europe.
  • When burned in a diesel engine, biodiesel replaces the exhaust odor of petroleum diesel with the pleasant smell of hemp, popcorn or french fries.
  • Biodiesel is the only alternative fuel in the US to complete EPA Tier I Health Effects Testing under section 211(b) of the Clean Air Act, which provide the most thorough inventory of environmental and human health effects attributes that current technology will allow.
  • Biodiesel is 11% oxygen by weight and contains no sulfur.
  • The use of biodiesel can extend the life of diesel engines because it is more lubricating than petroleum diesel fuel, while fuel consumption, auto ignition, power output, and engine torque are relatively unaffected by biodiesel.
  • The Congressional Budget Office, Department of Defense, US Department of Agriculture, and others have determined that biodiesel is the low cost alternative fuel option for fleets to meet requirements of the Energy Policy Act.