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Hempcrete Submitted for Certification in US Building Codes

The 6,000 sq. ft Cape Cod Hemp House, built in 2021-2022, is the largest hempcrete-insulated structure built in the US last year. Photo courtesy of Mpactful Ventures

The professional association representing the US hemp building industry moved forward to certify hemp and lime (hempcrete) insulation in US building codes this month.

Hempcrete was submitted as an appendix in the International Residential Codes on Jan. 10 by the US Hemp Building Foundation, the non-profit arm of the US Hemp Building Association.

The idea is to give U.S. building permitting departments a familiarity with the material, which is new to the United States after hemp was legalized under the 2018 Farm Bill. 

“These documents will show a pathway for using hempcrete as a building material,” USHBA President Jacob Waddell told HempBuildMag. “The goal is to allow you to build with hempcrete without needing an alternative material variance,” he added. 

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An international committee of hemp building experts and advocates prepared the paperwork to submit to the International Code Council. IRC code experts will evaluate the paperwork in March and again in September to enshrine hemp + lime as an approved natural building material. 

Eventually, inclusion in the IRC should “allow for hempcrete to be accessible to the standard person to construct with it,” Waddell said. 

Hempcrete, a non-structural insulation made of hemp hurd (shiv) and lime binder, provides a superior insulation product when installed up to 1 foot thick in wall assemblies. The material is vapor-permeable, thermally regulating, fire resistant and and repels mold and pests. Hempcrete insulation is carbon negative due to the large amounts of carbon sequestered by the hemp plant via photosynthesis while growing.

Used widely in Europe

The US building industry has some catching up to do when it comes to the international use of hemp in building materials.

Hempcrete has been employed as a carbon-negative insulation for 30 years in Europe, as an insulating construction material for large department stores in the United Kingdom and multistory residential buildings and public facilities in France.

Thirty-unit hempcrete apartment building in Paris. Photo courtesy of North by Northwest Architectes.

Patchwork of US building departments

Right now in the United States, builders, engineers and architects who want to use hempcrete must gain approval project-by-project in the absence of an overarching national code to point to, said Texas-based developer Ray Kaderli, of the Hemp Build Network.

Kaderli’s company was just permitted by the city of San Antonio to build a hempcrete-insulated three-bedroom/two-bath 1,300 sq. ft. home. 

Kaderli, a member of USHBA, praised the organization for moving forward with certification for hempcrete. 

“With a new industry there are many things to do,” Kaderli said in an email. “This was one of the most important first steps. I’m grateful [USHBA] had the insight and discipline to focus in this direction.”

The certification process also leads the way to apply to certify hempcrete in the International Commercial Building Codes for commercial buildings in 2024, when the next application process begins, USHBA president Waddell said. 

The material still needs to pass various ASTM fire tests as well as tests for structural bracing, Waddell said, for which the foundation will continue to raise funds. 

Straw bale builders paved the way

USHBA hired engineering and natural building consultants, including two straw bale construction pioneers who helped get straw bale construction certified in the US residential building codes in the early 2000s. 

Right now, the application submitted to the IRC only includes one-story structures to be insulated with hempcrete wall assemblies without extra engineering. This is a start that will be built upon to expand hempcrete’s role in the building codes, as more data and research is submitted and approved, Waddell said. 

“Submitting to the IRC is just the first step in a very long process to get hempcrete where we’re able to use it more readily,” Waddell said. 

The USHBA has about 200 active members and raised about $50,000 through its foundation for certification expenses and a series of other projects, including workforce development and creating educational materials, Waddell said.

The organization will host a members-only online event on Saturday, Jan. 30, where more information about the IRC certification will be shared.

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6,000-sq. ft hemp home befuddled permit officials 

The Massachusetts building permit official who approved one of last year’s largest hempcrete projects built on US soil last year, was initially confused at the rough inspection of the Cape Cod Hemp House, said Mary Dempsey, of Mpactful Ventures. 

“The building inspector took one look and said, ‘Wait a minute where’s your plywood?’ Then he muttered, ‘I gotta go study these plans better,’” she told HempBuildMag.

Even though the Cape Cod Hemp House relied on engineering approval and didn’t have difficulty getting a permit, Dempsey said including hempcrete in the IRC codes will help local building permitting authorities better understand how it works and what it can and cannot do. Mpactful Ventures and Dempsey helped steer the USHBA study group to gather the paperwork and research together to submit to the IRC. 

“People from all over the world were helping by reading this [document] to hopefully move an entire industry forward,” Dempsey said. “I’m really proud to have been part of it.”

Jean Lotus is editor and publisher of HempBuild Magazine.

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Is Hemp Really Stronger Than Steel? How?

Is Hemp Really Stronger Than Steel? How?

Let us think of the comparative strength of a metal known to be strong and a hemp plant fiber. Which do you think would be stronger? You’re tempted to say hemp. But is hemp stronger than steel? The comparative strength of steel and a plant fiber, let us say. What would be your common-sense response?
We actually asked this question randomly to a number of people of different age-groups. We simply wanted to check whether our intuitive response matches with theirs. It did. Almost everyone said – steel would be stronger. Only two people refused to answer. They believed there was a trick in the question somewhere.
The common-sense response would be correct in most cases. With one exception: hemp fiber. Fibers from this non-narcotic variety of Cannabis Sativa can be stronger than steel, experts have demonstrated.

By Way of Clarification

You have read right: hemp does belong to the same plant species as the drug cannabis or marijuana: Cannabis Sativa. However, hemp is not a drug. It cannot give you a high. Hemp does not have more than 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) to do that.
THC is the substance with psychoactive qualities, present in the narcotic cannabis at a concentration level of 7.5-10% or more. Hence the mind-altering capacity of cannabis or marijuana. Hemp is clean.

Is hemp stronger than steel? The Truth – Revealed

Strength in scientific terms gets calculated in two different ways mainly. Hemp fibers have been studied from both of these ways of measuring strength. Counter-intuitive though it seems, hemp fiber has proven to be stronger than steel from both these angles. Below, we describe in detail how that is possible.

Tensile and Compressive Strength

Tensile strength is the ability to withstand tension. Compressive strength is the ability to endure compression. In other words, how much tension or tautness can something take before it gets permanently deformed? That is the tensile strength of that material.
For example, how much pulling can a rope endure before it tears? That is the rope’s tensile strength. To tear is to get permanently deformed. It could also be measured in terms of weight endurance. For instance, how much weight can a tree branch take before it cracks and breaks?
The weight at which the tree branch cracks and breaks is beyond its tensile strength threshold. The maximum weight it can endure is indicative of its ultimate tensile strength.
Similarly, how much compression can something take before it loses its capacity to mend itself? That is compressive strength.
Think of spring in this context. Normally, a spring will bounce back to its own shape as soon as you remove the pressure you are applying to it. However, it is also possible to keep squeezing a spring until it is no longer able to regain its own shape.
The degree of pressing a spring can take without losing its shape permanently is its compressive strength. In simple terms, the pressure something can withstand before cracking and breaking or tearing is its tensile strength. The force applied takes the form of pulling at both ends.
It can also take the form of piling on increasing amounts of weight on something. till it cracks and breaks. The amount of pressure something can endure without bending and losing its shape permanently is its compressive strength. The force applied in this case takes the form of pushing from both ends.

The Tensile Strength of Steel

Metallurgy, the science of metals, mentions steel to be one of the strongest metals. Strictly speaking, steel is not metal as it is an alloy of iron and other elements, among which carbon is a non-metal. That does not make a difference to the strength of steel, though.
There are different varieties of steel with varying tensile strengths. The weakest form of steel is plain carbon steel with a tensile strength of up to 150 MPa. The strongest variety is ausformed steel with 3000 MPa of tensile strength.

The Tensile Strength of Hemp Fibers

In an article published in 2003 in the Materials Research Innovations, the authors report extensively on the tensile strength of hemp fibers of different diameters. The general rule in the case of synthetic fibers is that a reduction in the diameter of the fiber also decreases the faults.
That implies a lesser diameter of synthetic fibers gives it higher tensile strength. Authors Prasad and Sain demonstrate in their article that this same principle is applicable to hemp fibers also. Hemp fibers with a diameter of 4 μm (micrometer) have a tensile strength of 4200 MPa.
In contrast, the tensile strength of hemp fibers of 66 μm is 250 MPa only. The extensive experiments by Prasad and Sain demonstrate that the thickest hemp fiber with the least tensile strength (250 MPa) has more tensile strength than the variety of steel with the least tensile strength (150 MPa).
Their experiments also demonstrate that the thinnest fibers of hemp with the maximum tensile strength (4200 MPa) is stronger than the steel variety with the highest tensile strength (3000 MPa). The range of tensile strength possessed by hemp fibers of different diameters is, thus, more than the tensile strength range of different varieties of steel.

Is hemp stronger than steel? A Simpler Explanation of the Answer

It is possible to explain the above feature of strength in simpler terms, without using the scientific jargon ‘tensile strength’. It will take a lot more pressure to crack or break composite materials made of hemp fibers than the amount of pressure needed to crack or break things made of steel.
This is true across different varieties of steel and varying diameters of hemp fibers. The weakest hemp fiber needs more pressure to crack and break than the weakest variety of steel. The strongest variety of steel needs less pressure to crack and break than the strongest variety of hemp fiber.
Hemp has the capacity to endure double the weight of steel before it cracks and breaks. That is how much stronger hemp is than steel.

The Compressive Strengths of Hemp and Steel

The ability of hemp not to bend to compression is nearly six times that of steel, experts say. From the angle of compressive strength, therefore, hemp is six times more bend-resistant than steel.
That makes hemp stronger than steel from both aspects of strength measurement. The next time someone asks you – Is hemp stronger than steel? You can confidently answer – hemp, and then educate everyone on ‘how’ it’s stronger.

Strength Measurement in Applications

On June 19, 2017, CNBC reported on an episode from the “Jay Leno’s Garage’ show, where Leno drove a sportscar named Renew. Former Dell executive Bruce Dietzen got this sportscar specially made for himself out of 100 pounds of hemp fibers.
Both Dietzen and Leno punched the car with considerable force several times. Their hands were hurt, but there was no dent in the car, unlike a car with a steel body. According to the owner, his hemp car is 10 times stronger than any car made of steel.

A 2018 article in Material Science recommends the use of hemp cables instead of cables made of harmonic steel for roofs with hyperbolic paraboloid cable nets. According to the author, this substitution would be both cost-effective and environment-friendly without involving any compromise in the strength aspect.
News 18 reported on August 26, 2019, that the Canadian Hempheath Group has devised the world’s first aircraft made entirely from hemp. This four-seater plane has everything, from the wings to the body, the seats, and pillows are made from hemp.
The company intends to run it on hemp biofuel also. Hemp’s superior ability to endure more weight than steel and its considerably higher bendability makes it 10 times stronger than steel, says the founder of the company.

Sources:

Hemp Cables, a Sustainable Alternative to Harmonic Steel for Cable Nets

Tensile Strength of Steel And Other Metals

A Study in Physical and Mechanical Properties of Hemp Fibres

Vishal Vivek  
December 3, 2019

https://hempfoundation.net/is-hemp-really-stronger-than-steel-how/#:~:text=Hemp%20fibers%20with%20a%20diameter,%CE%BCm%20is%20250%20MPa%20only

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New Wind Generation Technology Produces 6 Times More Energy

A wind power company, SheerWind, from Minnesota USA has announced its new Invelox wind power generation technology. The company says its turbine could generate six times more energy than the amount produced by traditional turbines mounted on towers.via: News Direct

source/image: News Direct

Invelox does not rely on high wind speeds. It captures wind at any speed, even as low as 2 miles per hour.The result is the design is capable of producing 600% more energy due to the low wind speed.

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Hemp food processor in Germany is fully solar powered

Hemp Factory in Borkin, Germany

An overview of Hemp Factory a fully solar-powered food processing facility in northwestern Germany, has been added to the program for the Hemp Machines & Technology micro-summit May 24-25 at HempToday Center in Poland.

Only 8 accreditations remain for the summit, which will feature a wide range of technology applicable to both large and small hemp operations. Farming and decortication equipment, extraction systems, harvesting machines and other technology to serve the hemp industry will be explored at the two-day event. Stakeholders from Canada, Germany, Latvia, Italy, USA, South Africa, Finland, Ireland, Denmark, Portugal and Poland are already scheduled to be present.

Leading Euro producer

Located at Borken near the German-Dutch border, Hemp Factory is the biggest hemp food manufacturer in Central Europe. Development of the facility was guided by HempConsult GmbH, the Dusseldorf-based hemp industry advisory. HempConsult founder and CEO Daniel Kruse is also interim CEO at Hemp Factory.

Hemp Factory produces hemp foodstuffs for the processing industry, with 95% of output certified organic, and the remainder of conventional production. In addition to shelling hemp seeds, Hemp Factory’s services include the extraction of hemp oil by cold pressing, and the production of hemp flour, hemp protein and hemp dietary fiber.

Impressive customer base

Another production line turns out fodder, concentrated feed stuffs and fodder oil for the animal feed industry, and supplies livestock businesses with high-quality feed concentrates from by-products, such as oil, oil cake and coarse meal.

Hemp Factory’s customers include well-known food and baked goods producers as well as leading wholesalers. The factory turns out a variety of bulk hemp food products for Hempro International GmbH & Co. KG, which has been selling hemp foods for 16 years.

Speakers for the summit are: Rafael Dulon, CEO Hanf Farm GmbH, Germany; Valerio Zucchini, Valerio Zucchini Consulting & Trading, Italy; Robert Ziner, Founder & CEO, Canadian Industrial Hemp Corporation, Toronto, Canada; Kelly Knutson, CEO, Isolate Extraction Systems Inc., Colorado, USA; Heinrich Wieker, Henry’s Hemp Harvester, Germany; Marijn Roersch van der Hoogte, Hanffaser Uckermark, Germany; Kristaps Eglitis, Developer, The Micro Hemp Decorticator, Latvia; Ap Verhoef, Botanical Extraction Enterprises South Africa.

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Hemp 3D printer filament: A sustainable alternative

Cannabis has over recent time been a growing topic of debate. As it is discussed in various ways for its medical uses, environmental benefits and sustainable abilities, it is only natural that Hemp 3D printer filament would also come up at some point. While it is not the only alternative 3D printer filaments we covered on 3Dnatives, here is what you need to know about this 3D printing material.

The history

One material that historically has been a big part of the world culture in over 10.000 years is: hemp. It was one of the first plants domesticated by Humans and have been used in day-to-day life for its solid fibres, nourishing seeds and natural medicinal properties. It was even commonly used as paper and the growth of the plant encouraged by Kings. However around the 1950s a decline came about when cannabis was demonized for its euphoric properties. Since then the full plant has been looked down upon in big parts of the USA and Europe and the use of the material declined drastically.

hemp 3D printer filament

Industrial hemp material

In recent years however, the focus have turned back into a positive spin for the versatile material. More and more places are changing legislation, such as in California, and opening up for implementing the plant into everyday life. So as Hemp is an environmental-friendly material, it could be the solution to a lot of environmental problems. The plant reduces water consumption, pesticide use, and much more. The versatility of the plant can be used for a ton of things, such as biofuel and textiles. This is where 3D printing comes into play, as a lesser-known usage of this plant is for 3D printer filament. Along with hemp filament being developed it brings a new aspect to the additive manufacturing industry.



Manufacturing process

3D printing is improving the manufacturing processes in terms of reducing the environmental impact of manufacturing by reducing waste and speeding up the processes while often using less energy. Still, there are a way to go before a completely closed loop system and environmental-friendly filaments on the market. Mistakes and bad 3D prints happens from time to time. When using traditional plastics this can build up a lot of unwanted and unneeded waste. A way to counteract this is to print with biodegradable or recyclable material, such as PLA and Hemp. Because of hemps natural abilities it has no need for pesticides, it fertilises the soil it grows in and can grow more densely than other crops. Already these aspects make hemp a good material to work with as an eco-solution. PLA, which hemp is often combined with, is already biodegradable on its own. This based in PLA being sourced from materials such as sugar canes and cornstarch. Therefor combining PLA and Hemp in a hybrid material will bring new possibilities to the table.

hemp 3D printer filament

The process of making hemp filament is fairly simple. Most commonly you will see a material like PLA as a polymer base. The hemp fibre is grounded up into fine particles and mixed into it. This process is done in the same way a lot of other hybrid filaments are made. However, it is often made without added colour to keep the positive impact all the way through and has a special texture to add to the print. With this and as hemp is good for the environment, it is no wonder that there is a demand for it.

hemp 3D printer filament

The debate on how legal the various filaments are, depends on the individual locations. In France the law is set to the filament having less than 0,2% Tetrahyrdocannabinol or THC for short. But the general laws are currently changing in various locations around the world. One place where legislation seems to be moving fast over recent years is the US. In 2014 then president Obama signed the agricultural act of 2014. This amongst other, allowed for universities and state departments of agriculture to start cultivating industrial hemp for limited purposes, opening up for the market to develop. This year alone at least 38 of the states considered legislation related to the hemp industry, covering everything from clarifying laws to establishing new licensing requirements and programs. Out of this at least 5 states have enacted legislation to establish hemp research and industrial pilot programs along with more states.

Main producers

There are already a couple of companies out with their version of the hemp 3D printer filament. One such company is 3D4MAKER. They have developed their product for the market of biodegradable plastics with the ability to recycle or compost the filament afterwards.

hemp 3D printer filament

Another company is 3Dfuel. The company have released a series of eco-friendly composite materials. Partnering with c2renew to produce the line, they came up with 4 materials so far. They consist of Wound Up: a coffee filament, Buzzed: a beer filament, Landfillament: a trash filament and Entwined: their hemp filament. All of which is produced using waste materials and Ingeo PLA to provide functional and sustainable 3D prints. 3Dfuel even released an improved version of their hemp filament. In the v2 version they basically reduced the particle size of the hemp material. The finer particles allows for an increase in the percentage used in the filament with the visible bio-fill creating a unique texture. Showing an interest in improving the possibilities.

A newer company, doing so as well and pushing the natural material is Kanèsis. Starting out slow with a campaign that didn’t take off, they still managed to fund their HempBioPlastic or HBP®. The company persisted, launched their website and have worked to develop solutions for a sustainable world ever since. On their site they sell the HBP filament as well as a Weed filament. The main difference between the two, being the THC levels. The Italian company is sole committed to natural materials designed for the manufacturing industry, bringing down the environmental impact and providing all-around benefits.

hemp 3D printer filament

Kanèsis’ HempBioPlastic or HBP®

How to use Hemp 3D printer filament

The general printing properties of most of the hemp 3D printer filament closely resembles PLA filament. However, it might be even easier to print with as it, depending on which producer you buy it from, can print at 10°C lower than PLA. The filament is also odorless, which helps for indoor use in smaller spaces. And it has low-warp, making a heated bed unnecessary when printing. Though if you have one an optimal heat setting seems to be around 45°C. Since hemp 3D printer filament is easy to print and works in the same manner as PLA, it can be used in a variety of ways. However, do to the ease of use, along with the biodegradable attributes it would be good for daily prototyping. Not to mention other projects of experimenting that wouldn’t have the need for colouring. Of course if you are searching for a specific look or texture to your print, it might be worth checking out as well. Although the hemp filament is a hybrid filament at this point, it seldom has the same texture as traditional PLA.

Hemp 3D printer filament

The price varies quit a lot form one hemp printer filament to the next. Kanesis sells their HBP and Weed filament for around $37 for a 500g spool. 3D4MAKERS is around the same kg price with a 750g spool for ca. $48. In the more expensive corner you can look to 3Dfuel’s entwined that sells for $45,99 for 500g. Depending on the producer the prices varies, along with the actual plant material percentage in the filaments.

3Dfuel created a short video to introduce you to the concept of hemp 3D printer filament:

 

 

So while there are bio-filaments on the market already, it is only the start. Both established and new companies will continue to develop and improve their products. What to you think of the hemp 3D printer filament? Comment below.

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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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What do empty cans have in common with vegetables grown in stone wool?

Deborah 'Debbie' Kelly Spillane

Deborah Kelly Spillane13 August 2021

Circularity, webinar, nl

If you’ve ever been to Denmark, you might have been surprised to see people picking up empty bottles and cans instead of putting them in the bin. This is one of the first learnings for newcomers living in Denmark: By returning bottles and cans to the deposit machine in the supermarket, they can be exchanged for cash. This is a classic example of the circular economy – a way to keep materials in use for as long as possible.

As we realise the irreversible damage our “take, make and waste” consumerist society is inflicting on our planet, calls for a stronger circular economy are growing ever louder. And they are being met in new and innovative ways across many different industries – from the way we build to the way we heat our homes in winter.

Before we get into some exciting examples of circular businesses, let’s take a look at exactly what it means and just why it is so important. At the time of writing, the vast majority of the world’s resources, including metals, plastics, wood, concrete, chemicals are used only once before they become waste. Circularity is philosophy that reduces this enormous waste by keeping materials in use for as long as possible to decrease our carbon footprint and the constant exploitation of our natural world. It is based on three principles:

  • Design out waste and pollution
  • Keep products and materials in use
  • Regenerate natural systems

Circle House – circularity in construction

Let’s look at some real life examples of this philosophy put into practice. Close to Aarhus, Denmark, a social housing project has been built to demonstrate circularity in construction. With the construction industry being responsible for one third of all waste created worldwide[1], this move towards circularity is much-needed.

This unique building is the first fully circular building of it’s kind and the construction of this revolutionising building meant brining together many different stakeholders to re-think the construction process and selecting the very best materials. The Circle House project shows that it is possible to overcome the challenges involved and it has started a much-needed discussion around circularity in construction. You can read more about Circle House here:11 August 2021Not just home sweet home but a material bank

From waste to heat

In Denmark today, 64 percent of all Danish households[2] get their heating from district heating. In the small town of Vamdrup, a short drive from Aarhus, you’ll find another example of how local businesses and are working together to re-use waste heat. Here ROCKWOOL’s stone wool factory contributes excess heat from its cooling systems to the local district heating network. This is then used to heat the homes of 1,500 local residents.

By turning what is often seen as a waste product into heat, local homeowners save 10 percent of their heating bills. At the same time, ROCKWOOL reduces the energy needed for cooling. And ultimately by reducing the need to heat and cool, everybody benefits from the reduced CO2 emissions.28 April 2021Top 10 Sustainable case studies

Grown in stone

But circularity is about more than just building and recycling bottles – and it can be found at the cutting-edge of new, innovative methods of growing our food. If you’ve had a fresh salad lately, it might have come from a ‘hydroponic’ farm. You can think of these farms as high-tech green houses, many of which grows produce in highly controlled conditions using no soil. Instead these farms use soil substitutes, such as stone wool. It can be hard to wrap your head around the idea of growing fresh produce in stone  but this material is ideal for achieving more growth with less space and fewer resources.09 May 2018Growing more with less

In Denmark, the  indoor farm Katrine & Alfred grows tomatoes, cucumbers and chilis using Grodan stone wool blocks. The even density of the stone wool creates stable growing conditions and avoids many of the natural deviations that occur in soil. The exact amount of nutrients can be delivered straight to the plant, which results in less environmental impact and a more uniform product.

What’s more, this controlled method of farming lets the company save on fertilisers, and enables them to recycle and reuse water. In fact, growing one kilo of tomatoes in a state-of-the-art greenhouse using hydroponics takes only four liters of water whereas soil-based growing would require 60 litres[3]. That’s something that can only make your salad taste even better!

It’s time for circular thinking

Faced with an ever-shrinking window of time where we can take action to reduce our impact on the planet, redefining growth and industrial practices has become more urgent than ever before. Whether it’s building homes with less environmental impact, reusing waste heat or just recycling our empty bottles, circularity provides ways to rebalance our lifestyles that we need to embrace.

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Circular economy

We at HEMP NATION ONE promote the so called “cradle to cradle” concept in all production and waste cycles.
It’s also know as the ’circular economy’. An intro.

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/circular-economy-2020/?fbclid=IwAR10Vpx1jVTrQStgEdARiSZEb1WCEZgkYa9B7_WMx_Ue_1HSt7Q-yjuW470

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Where is the Weed Emoji?

If you’re thumbing through your phone’s emoji keyboard looking for a pot leaf to text to your friend, keep swiping. You’ll have to settle for a more abstract representation like a puff of smoke because the process behind adding a new emoji is more complicated than you think

If you’re thumbing through your phone’s emoji keyboard looking for a pot leaf to text to your friend, keep swiping. You’ll have to settle for a more abstract representation like a puff of smoke because the process behind adding a new emoji is more complicated than you think.

In 1987, engineers from Apple and Xerox started brainstorming how to encode characters so that each language’s letter or symbol fit a standardized width and storage space. Four years later, the Unicode Consortiumwas founded, with representatives from most major tech companies sitting on the Board of Directors. 

To this day, this group — which now includes representatives from UC Berkeley, the government of Bangladesh and more — oversees all additions to the Unicode alphabet.

In 2009, a group of engineers petitioned the Unicode Consortium to adopt “emoji,” a group of over six hundred characters that were widely used in mobile text messaging systems across Japan. The nonprofit approved the prototypical group emoji — which included cat faces, lunar symbols, zodiac signs, etc. — making them accessible on all operating platforms. 

After the addition of emoji keyboards to Apple’s iOs and Google’s Android, worldwide use of the colorful characters exploded, opening up new communication possibilities as users created their own combinations and attributed their own symbolic meanings. But why, still, isn’t there a weed emoji?

How to request new emojis

Each year, the Unicode Consortium has expanded their available options, adding new characters (like the taco) and allowing modifications of previous emojis (like turning a baseball into a softball or allowing you to change the skin color and gender of a surfer). Anyone, from nonprofits to businesses to individuals, can suggest a new emoji if they’re willing to go through the arduous application process.

A proposal to add a weed emoji has to be remarkably detailed, and could easily be rejected simply for not following the correct format. You need to prove the importance of the new emoji, point by point, and include proposed artwork, which presents its own set of difficulties: would a weed emoji depict a cannabis leaf, nug, joint, pipe, blunt or bong?

To be accepted, the Unicode Technical Committee (or UTC) would have to agree on a rigorous set of standards. Is the emoji already in such heavy use on a platform like Facebook Messenger or Snapchat that it’s needed for compatibility? Is it overly specific, or will it have a high frequency of use throughout large communities? Can it already be represented by existing emoji, or is it distinctive and groundbreaking?

“More weight is given to emoji that convey concepts that are not simply variants of concepts conveyed by existing emoji or sequences of existing emoji,” the proposal submission guidelines state. “For example, it would be better to proposal an emoji for a new kind of animal rather than an emoji for a new breed of dog.”

To limit strain on memory and usability, only seventy new emojis are added annually. After going through the approval process — which can take up to two years — an approved emoji will finally be released. 

Each major vendor (like Apple and Google) will create their own version of the proposed artwork to fit their distinctive house style. They may even choose to cloak the original meaning to fit their community standards — like when Apple, Google, and Facebook replaced the emoji depicting a realistic handgun with a playful, lime-green squirt gun.

Should you proposal a weed emoji yourself?

Still, nothing’s stopping you from submitting your proposal for a weed emojis; in fact, six different requests have already been declined, many after the UTC’s Emoji Subcommittee decided that a cannabis leaf was already representable by existing emoji. They’re not the only ones wondering whether we really need a weed emoji all that badly.

“Do we need a literal penis emoji to understand why an eggplant is referential?” asks Carly Fisher, an award-winning journalist and author whose work covers the cultural intersection of food, travel, and cannabis. “To me, part of the fun with emoji is interpretation, like hieroglyphics.”

“Green plants, vegetables, and hearts seem to be the wink-nod these days,” she says, though she’s fond of alluding to the “Devil’s lettuce” with a head of romaine or reaching for a maple leaf during the fall season.

In 2016, rapper DRAM released ‘Broccoli,’ a sunny collaboration with Lil Yachty with a chorus that alluded to cannabis with the lines, “Yeah, I know your baby mama fond of me, all she want to do is smoke that broccoli.” Almost four million views later, the music video featuring oversized broccoli headpieces and plenty of literal broccoli has helped establish the broccoli emoji as a reliable, if unusual way to text message or post on social media the concept of cannabis buds.

The most popular alternative emojis to weed

A floral bouquet or daisy can signal “flower”; pine trees can represent woodsy strains high in pine and humulene, or just “tree” in general. Data harvested from money transfer app Venmo, which encourages users to describe payments using emoji, shows that options for representation stretch far beyond the plant kingdom.

The top twenty-five most-used emojis on Venmo include a red fuel pump, fire, and an electric plug. While the fuel pump could mean users are splitting fuel costs in exchange for rides, it’s not hard to imagine that at least some of those transactions are alluding to “gas,” a slang term for strains with strong chemical-like scents like Sour Diesel or Jet Fuel

A fire emoji might reference sparking up a joint, bowl or bong. Lastly, the plug emoji almost certainly alludes to “the plug” — a common slang term for someone who connects a buyer with a coveted good, whether it be backstage passes, organic compost or weed.

With so many alternatives available, it’s not surprising that approving a cannabis emoji hasn’t been a top priority for the UTC. The situation isn’t hopeless, however; as attitudes surrounding cannabis change worldwide, there’s a potential for a grassroots push to finally gain traction.

New characters and the emoji grassroots movement

In 2016, former reporter, entrepreneur and literary studio co-founder Jennifer 8. Lee created The Dumpling Emoji Project with Yiying Lu, a designer best known for illustrating the infamous Twitter Fail Whale. Noting that the “folks on the committee which oversees emoji are mostly male, mostly American, and overwhelmingly engineers,” they saw a worldwide need to expand the emoji lexicon with an adorable dough-wrapped dumpling just generic enough to represent kreplach, pelmeni, and pierogi as well as gyoza, potstickers, and momos.

They funded the project via a crowdsourcing campaign that promised backers dumpling cookbooks, workshops and even private parties hosted by renowned chefs. The proceeds allowed their new organization, Emojination, to join Unicode as an official non-voting associate member (the same level as Twitter). 

Gaining intimate knowledge of the emoji approval process allowed Lee to create the perfect proposal complete with graphs and footnotes. “It’s crazy how labor intensive these proposals are,” she told BuzzFeed News. “It’s definitely more than a day’s work. Not only is it hard to write them, but I don’t think everyone could do it. Like, I know very educated Ivy League people who probably can’t write an emoji caliber proposal. It’s a very specific voice.”

Today, Emojination lends their expertise, resources, and tools to shepherd new emoji from user-submitted ideas to colorful characters on your keyboard. Guided by the motto “Emoji For the People, By The People,” they’re behind the addition of not just the dumpling emoji but symbols representing red money envelopes, DNA strands, a woman wearing a hijab, the sauna emoji, and even the broccoli emoji sometimes used to represent weed.

A dedicated weed emoji is a far off-dream for now; previews of the upcoming 2020 additions have already been released, including a toothbrush, plunger, and the gender-neutral Mx. Claus. Until a lucky petition succeeds, you’ll have to use your imagination when a friend texts you a fresh sprig of herbs.

Featured image by Andrew Le/Unsplash

Lorena Cupcake

Lorena Cupcake

Lorena Cupcake is a Chicago-based culture writer and marketing specialist. Their work examines how cannabis intersects with music, food, fashion, community and more.