Hemp as an alternative to paper made out of wood
Before we start with our explanation you can watch our introduction video:
Paper use in general and paper production from wood
After we did some research we discovered that our school in Wetzikon uses 500‘000 sheets of paper (DIN A4 and DIN A3) on average per year. Out of one ordinary tree the industry can produce around 10’000 sheets (estimate based on online researches) of paper. Taking into account the recycling rate in Switzerland of 62% (statistischer Jahresbericht 2020, PDF, altpapier.ch), this results each year in 19 new cutted trees & the use of 31 “recycled trees” to meet our school’s paper needs.
In our partner school in Berlin it looks almost exactly the same. Namely they need 500’000 DIN A4 and 50’000 DIN A3 paper.
Hemp as an alternative
Hemp was first used as paper in the year 1455 and even some bibles were written on hemp paper. It was commonly used as paper until the Second World War. After the war unfortunately, it began to be cheaper if the industry produced paper from wood.
After we’ve done our research we can’t really understand that. Namely hemp (100 days to be fully grown) is a lot more ecological and needs a fraction of time that a tree (50 to 500 years to be fully grown) needs. Additionally on the same surface we can gather four times more resources to produce paper than from trees (1 acre of hemp gives as much paper as 4 acres of trees). Also the cellulose’s structure from hemp is almost always better than the cellulose’s structure from trees.
During our spring Holidays there has been quite a Special Event. Namely at one weekend at the end of April the Cannatrade (Cannabisfair) took place in Zurich Oerlikon. It was very interesting to see the different business areas concerning the use of cannabis that doesn’t make you high. For example there you could buy different products like cosmetics (shampoo), nutrition (cookies and even dog food), building materials, clothing and different accessoires. Furthermore there were a lot of business owners who tried to inform people about their product and what really touched me, was a man who told me about the medicinal advantages and possibilities of the hemp plant and how the plant helped him with his disability. However we should not loose sight, that hemp with a high concentration of THC is a drug and if taken without control or at a young age can do harm.
Hemp as medicine Hemp as bricks
These pictures were taken by Joël.
If you are interested to gather more knowledge by yourself, the Cannatrade 2019 takes place in Lausanne! Here (cannatrade.ch) you can get more information.
After we have informed ourselves about this theme we can’t really see why we switched to paper produced from trees in the first place. Surely it was cheaper, but we think that this was also artificially made so that the paper industry could make more money. Fortunately in our time the governments, industries and citizens rethink their position about paper made from wood because it also fuels the deforestation process and therefore also the extinction of different animal species.
If we would switch to hemp based paper, we could save many trees which would be a very noble idea because trees also filter the carbon-dioxide and turn it into breathable air. In addition we could use our soil more efficient due to the higher productivity of hemp for paper production. As a useful side effect we would also have better paper quality so what’s stopping us from this change?
Additionally, you can buy different hemp products online. If you follow the attached link, you can buy hemp paper or envelopes.
Amman’s HanfParadies (ammanns-hanfparadies.ch)
Following you can find a document with an interview with a member of the young green-liberals of Switzerland. To simplify the understanding the interview was conducted in German.
We hope that we could show you a new perspective on hemp and that you understand, that there is more to hemp than a simple high.
Kind regards and don’t forget to do your own research. If there are any ambiguities or questions, do not hesitate to contact us.
With the following articles which we also used as information, you can inform yourself:).
Mario, Eric, Joël and our comrades from Berlin