Hemp Paper vs Wood Paper

The high focus on sustainability with commercial and consumer products has undeniably led to a shift in how we think about certain products, and paper is one of the most commonly required products. While paper products made of wood pulp have been the norm for many years, relaxed regulations have brought industrial hemp back into the limelight as a renewable textile source. Therefore, hemp paper is now more readily available. Nevertheless, many people are not familiar with hemp paper or how it differs from wood paper. Let’s take a tour through hemp paper vs wood paper and all the unique attributes that make them different.

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The Differences Between Hemp Paper and Wood Paper

While a product made from hemp paper vs wood paper may look a lot alike, the two types of paper are exceptionally different in terms of how they are made, sustainability, and more. Take a look at all the ways the two types of paper are different below.

Raw Material Source

The most obvious and defining difference between hemp paper and wood paper is the raw material used to make the paper. Hemp paper is made from the fibers of the hemp plant, while wood paper is produced from wood pulp. Hemp is an agricultural plant with annual crop yields and wood pulp (also known as wood fiber) is harvested from trees.

Production Processes

Hemp paper is often produced using mechanical methods, which involve breaking down the hemp fibers using physical or mechanical means such as grinding or crushing. By contrast, wood paper typically undergoes a chemical pulping process, which involves treating wood chips with various chemicals to separate the fibers in preparation for paper production.

Sustainability Aspects

Overall, hemp paper is far more sustainable than wood paper in many regards. For example, hemp paper production is more sustainable because hemp plants grow faster, require less water and pesticides, and can be harvested annually. Wood paper production contributes to deforestation and habitat loss because trees take many years to grow. Additionally, producing hemp paper has a lower carbon footprint than wood paper production, as hemp plants require less energy-intensive processing.

Recyclability

Both hemp and wood paper are very recyclable, but hemp paper can be recycled more times without losing quality. Each time wood pulp is recycled, the fibers become shorter and weaker, leading to a decrease in paper quality. Eventually, the fibers become too short to be effectively used in paper production. Therefore, over the long-term, the recyclability of hemp paper also contributes to it being a more stainable option.

Water-Resistance

Hemp paper has natural water-resistant, or hydrophobic properties. The fibers do not degrade or break down as quickly with moisture exposure. Wood-pulp paper, on the other hand, can deteriorate rapidly when exposed to moisture and does not hold up over the long term. Therefore, hemp paper products are less prone to damage or deterioration when exposed to moisture compared to traditional wood-based paper.

Strength

Hemp fibers are longer, stronger, and more durable than wood fibers. Wood pulp fibers are shorter and less dense, while also having a far lower tensile strength than fibers collected from hemp. This compositional makeup leads to hemp paper being higher quality paper that is more resistant to tearing and deterioration.

Availability

While hemp paper is no doubt gaining popularity because of its many desirable qualities, it is still less common when it comes to market availability. Hemp paper’s market demand is growing, but there is still limited production among an elite sect of paper manufacturers. The majority of those who utilize hemp in paper-milling do not use all hemp; they rely on a mix of both hemp fibers and wood pulp. Therefore, 100 percent hemp paper is even rarer to find.

Discover the Difference Between Hemp Paper vs Wood Paper with Mill26

As the only paper-production company providing 100% hemp paper products, we’re obviously huge fans of hemp paper at Mill26. After generations in the industrial paper-making industry, we know a few things about high-quality paper, and hemp makes this more possible than ever. If you are looking for a sustainable, durable paper solution for your business, be sure to explore the collection of hemp paper products like bags and rolls available in the Mill26 collection.

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