Some Hemp Fabric Questions for Thought!


Is hemp fabric sustainable?

Hemp fabric is the most sustainable of all fabrics on the planet! Hemp is the greatest carbon sink in the plant world, meaning that it absorbs more CO2 than any other crop or forest. It even continues absorbing CO2 when it is harvested and processed. This sets hemp off to a great start in terms of its carbon footprint.

Hemp not only cleans the air, but the soil as well. It actively pulls toxins out of the soil, and aerates the soil at the same time. The large tap root system helps to prevent soil compaction, while also binding soil together to prevent soil erosion. Hemp returns valuable nutrients like nitrogen to the soil when leaves and organic matter fall to the ground. All of this makes hemp a great crop for rotation farming, as it leaves the soil in a better condition than before it was planted, making way for other crops to have an easier time of it when they are rotated into the areas where hemp was previously planted. Simply put, most crops grow better, bigger and stronger in soil where hemp was previously grown.

Hemp requires no pesticides, herbicides or chemical fertilisers to grow large and strong. It will grow almost anywhere on the planet and in conditions where other plants might struggle, hemp thrives.

Fabrics made from organic hemp are entirely sustainable. So much is said about reducing harm to the environment, but not only does hemp reduce harm, it actually makes a positive impact on soil, air, human health and the general wellbeing of our planet! That’s why we have been promoting the use of hemp fabrics for decades!

Is hemp better than cotton?

Yes, hemp fabric is better than cotton in so many ways! There are two areas to consider when answering this question; fabric performance and environmental impact.

When it comes to fabric performance, hemp wins the day. Hemp fabric is naturally antibacterial, antifungal and antimicrobial. It is thermodynamic, meaning that when used for clothing it helps to regulate your temperature keeping you warm when it’s cool, and cool when it’s hot. Hemp has hollow fibres, making it breathable and also a fantastic insulator. It is highly absorbent and has natural moisture-wicking abilities, making it great for removing sweat from the surface of the body. It is an extremely durable, hard wearing fabric with 5x the tensile strength of cotton and 3x more durability. It also gets softer with age.

You may think that all sounds great, but wait until you hear this next part! The environmental impact of the cotton industry is a serious problem in the world today. Cotton is a very intensive plant to grow, and 25% off ALL agricultural chemicals worldwide are used for growing cotton. Nasty pesticides, herbicides, defoliants and chemical fertilisers are used. Huge amounts of water are required (3000 litres for a single t-shirt). The coupling of large amounts of chemicals and water means that the chemicals are often carried into the surrounding ecosystems, permeating the soil and making their way into waterways, causing untold damage to nature and to the workers tending the fields.

On the other hand, hemp is one of the most eco-friendly plants out there! It requires NO chemicals at all. It requires less than a quarter of the water than cotton requires to grow and it actively improves the environment. Hemp improves soil quality through removing toxins from the ground and preventing soil compaction thanks to it’s large tap root system, it also binds soil together to prevent soil erosion, keeping soil in good condition for whatever crops come after it. The plants are known for being the single greatest plant at absorbing CO2 from the atmosphere, in their lifetime they absorb more CO2 than any other crop or forest. Hemp can grow organically in almost any environment on the planet, and it does!

How long does hemp fabric last?

Hemp fabric lasts longer than cotton, or any other natural fibre fabric. Hemp fibres are the strongest in the natural world, with ~5x the tensile strength of cotton and ~3x the durability. Hemp fabrics have been found from ancient Mesopotamia (modern day Iran and Iraq) from 8,000 BC. So the real answer to the question “how long does hemp fabrics last?” is; around 10,000 years…so far.

Of course, the lifespan of any hemp fabric depends on which type of fabric you are using (canvas, denim, cloth, linen, etc), how you treat it and what you use it for. Some heavy uses will see hemp wear out more quickly, whereas in the right conditions it can last for thousands of years. In general, it’s a highly durable fabric to work with, and with the right care and attention, it will serve you for a lifetime.

Urban Re-Leaf home's hemp and sustainable pillow covers works exclusivley with these fabrics.  If you are looking for sustainable home goods then go to our site and view the many styles of pillow covers.

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