The Use of Hemp in Reprocessed Paper Manufacture

After the introduction, the body of the paper presents arguments for the use of hemp:

■ The recycling process and the structure of the hemp plant are briefly explained.

■ It is said that comparatively fewer natural and human resources are used to grow hemp rather than a tree to produce the same amount of fibre.

■ Other paper additives are discussed and shown to be less acceptable and cost effective than hemp.

■ Hemp is offered as an alternative to wood-based papers altogether.

■ Other uses of hemp are briefly mentioned, pointing out that the plant is more than a solution to a single problem.

Sample conclusion

Society tends to view certain topics through narrow lenses and from one viewpoint, as either black or white, good or evil - but the viewpoints and attitudes change. In the recent past, hemp was primarily considered a fibre for use in ropes and fabrics, but with the rise of the counter-culture of the mid-twentieth century and its focus on drugs, the lowly source of fibre, hemp, became the infamous marijuana, pot, dope. It was stigmatized, outlawed and vilified, forced into hiding. Today that attitude bears re-evaluation.

Apart from the medicinal qualities of marijuana, its other practical applications surely warrant a second look at the plant and the controversy surrounding it. Today, new varieties of hemp are available which are easily and quickly grown and resource-stingy but do not have enough THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) to have any narcotic or intoxicating effects, yet society still fearfully turns its back on one of the least expensive, most versatile natural fibres available.

As societies seek ways to protect the forests and the environment as a whole, abandoning such a useful and environmentally friendly raw material as hemp seems particularly shortsighted. Still, this is not the first, and doubtless not the last, time that society has turned its back on the potential benefits of something because it has already acquired a bad name.

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