Sustainability and Cannabis

Cannabis is slated to become one of the most popular consumer products on the planet. With that comes an entirely new era of agricultural production erected around a plant that has overcome many hurdles to get where it now is. Further, heightened production and consumer interest breed the potential for more danger to the environment in several ways.

These potentially negative effects are something many in the cannabis industry are working hard to overcome. Therefore, sustainable cannabis is a hot topic for discussion in many circles. Ironically, one type of cannabis, hemp, has the potential to make an impressive positive impact on the planet. Find out more about the importance of sustainable cannabis production and how hemp could play a role in making the overall cannabis industry more sustainable.

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The Importance of Sustainable Cannabis Production

By the end of 2024, the cannabis industry market size is expected to reach $40 Billion and add twice as much in revenue to the United States economy. For scale comparison with another in-demand agricultural product, the soybean market size in 2023 was $59 Billion. Therefore, the cannabis industry is booming, but its growth isn’t without environmental concerns. Large-scale production, especially indoors, which is mandated in most legal states, can guzzle energy and water, rely on harmful pesticides, and generate significant waste.

Sustainable practices aim to minimize the industry’s environmental footprint. This can involve utilizing sunlight and organic methods outdoors or employing energy-efficient technologies and water conservation techniques indoors. Sustainable growers also focus on reducing waste by composting plant trimmings and using recyclable packaging.

By adopting sustainable practices throughout cannabis cultivation, cannabis producers can benefit the environment, but also themselves. They can conserve resources, reduce energy bills, and potentially tap into a growing market for eco-conscious consumers. Sustainable production can also improve the quality and safety of cannabis by minimizing the use of chemicals.

The Environmental Impact of Paper Production

Paper production takes a major toll on the environment. From deforestation concerns that rob the planet of natural habitats that sustain wildlife and delicate ecosystems to water pollution, making traditional paper has long been an area of environmental concern. Globally, more than 11 million hectares of forests have been removed so far in 2024. It also takes as much as 13 liters of water to produce one sheet of A4, wood-based paper. The U.S. produces 66 million tons of wood-pulp paper per year.

A More Sustainable Option: The Benefits of Hemp Paper

Hemp, which is a form of cannabis with minuscule amounts of THC, offers the potential to revolutionize the impact wood-pulp paper has on the planet. It could also play a role in reducing the environmental impact of the cannabis industry as a whole, with the creation of hemp-based packaging alternatives. Take a look at the benefits of hemp paper below.

Hemp Paper Reduces Deforestation

Traditional paper production relies on trees, a vital resource for our planet’s health. Trees absorb carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, and deforestation contributes significantly to climate change. Hemp paper offers a sustainable alternative, as it grows much faster than trees and requires less land. This reduces pressure on forests and allows them to continue their vital role in the environment.

Hemp Paper Production Has a Reduced Environmental Impact in Other Ways

According to Hemp Benchmarks, making hemp paper utilizes almost half as much energy and produces half as much solid waste. It can also be made with 38% less greenhouse gases involved and generates far less wastewater than wood-pulp paper.

Hemp Paper Production Makes Use of an Otherwise Discarded Agricultural Product

The fibers used for hemp paper production come from the bast, which is the long strands surrounding the woody core of the plant. The internal woody core is often used for other textile products. Therefore, using the exterior of the hemp stalk for paper, the interior for other textiles, and buds for cannabidiol extraction is possible. This means far less organic waste from hemp paper production than there could ever be with trees.

More Recyclable Than Wood-Based Paper

Hemp paper contains fibers that do not break down and deteriorate as easily as wood pulp. Generally, paper made from wood can usually be recycled once before it becomes waste. By contrast, hemp paper can be recycled multiple times because the integrity of the fibers is not as vulnerable to degradation.

Take Steps Toward Sustainability with Hemp Paper Products

Whether you run a dispensary and need hemp paper bags or you are a manufacturer looking for sustainable paper tubes, Mill26 offers only 100% hemp paper products. Be sure to explore our full collection to take steps toward supporting sustainability with hemp.

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