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.
Interview «Junge Grünliberale» (PDF)
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:).
Hanf Magazin (hanf-magazin.com)
Career Trend (careertrend.com)
Mario, Eric, Joël and our comrades from Berlin
On-topic posts on dontwastemy.energy
The life cycle of newspapers
Paper’s life cycle
☷ See the project teams here »
☵ Some words about the contributions »
8 thoughts on “Paper production through hemp – an alternative?”
It is an interesting topic. It was fascinating because I never heard something before from it, even when it was something a bit hard to understand. A visual statistic may have been helpful.
I think it‘s a very good choice to use hemp as paper, especially at this time, where we need a lot of trees on our planet. Hemp is easy to plant and grow and it only takes a few months to be ready for harvesting. If we do this in the future or from now on, we could have the same plantations every few months. At the same time we could plant trees, those ones we let grow and use as our oxygen generators instead of producing millions of sheets of paper.
– 1 acre of Hemp can produce as much paper as 4-10 acres of trees over a 20 year cycle
– Hemp stalks grow in 4 months, whereas trees take 20-80 years
– Hemp paper is more durable than trees. Hemp paper does not yellow, crack, or deteriorate like tree paper
It is really interessting to see that our school uses 500’000 papers each year. I am surprised that we need 5000 trees to produce 500k papers, thats a huge amount of trees and imagine that is just our school, it has so many schools like primary school, secondary school and many others…
I didnt knew that the papers were made of hamp back in the days, so I also dont understand why we switched to trees. It seems that papers made of hemp are way more ecological, maybe a bit more expensive but would make more sense to switch back.
It was a really good post because they had some facts and they also included other schools like the school in Berlin. That this school from Berlin also has like the same usage amount of paper surprised me because i thought Berlin is such a big city so the schools would be bigger there and proportional they would use more paper. Thank you guys for such an informative post, it is full of important informations.
A really nice and insightful piece of writing on the deliberate demonisation of hemp and marijuana because it posed threat to other money making industries. In short, they didn’t want us to grow our medicines in our backyard. How’d they earn that way!
In my oppinion you’ve made an really good article about this topic, although it’s very difficult to not offend the people because it’s still in their mind that cannabis (in every way) is bad for the humanity, although there are enough studies which prove the opposite.
Related to the use of hemp you’ve also mentioned nearly all the necessary points like for cosmetic, textiles, building materials and very important the medical effect which it has. There are a lot of more people where the „normal“ medicine doesn’t help (anymore) and with hemp they can be healed or the restrictions can be made bearable.
You’ve mentioned a lot of points why they should change the paper-production from wood to hemp, but as you said it’s still in the people brains that cannabis is dangerous and bad. Apart from that it’s also a money-factor, that the paper-industry does use wood instead of hemp. They can make more money with paper from wood than with paper made by hemp. But I think the planet should be first an business second and not the other way round because it’s our task to look forward that our next generation can live without any problems made by us.
Thank you for this interesting comment.
In my opinion, hemp-paper would be better and more ecological than our normal Paper, but for the ecological aspect it would be much better to do new exercises at a tablet so we wouldn‘t need any paper.
Very interesting post! It’s a Topic that is very unknown and really showed that it could be a good alternative to our common paper. Your video is also very good and well produced. It helps to unterstand better with another media.
I think you could use different scources, which have different opinions in politic, economie and others aspects.
Cool post! We like alot that you produced a video by your own, it gives a little movement in the post.
Also your calculations are very stunning.
Nina, Lorena, Lisa