Hemp – a true environmental hero!

Can hemp truly be seen as an environmental hero?
Gorgeous Hemp & Wool upholstery fabric £32/m in 31 shades

At Gecco Interiors, we have always carried a range of beautiful, soft and vibrant hemp fabrics that worked equally well for curtains as domestic upholstery – Hardy Organic Hemp. Recently we launched our 2nd hemp fabric range, this time a textured, hard wearing yet gorgeous upholstery fabric mixed with wool – Hemp Plus. We thought it was time to examine the wonderful properties of this amazing plant for it is slowly becoming known as an environmental hero.

History
The first recorded piece of canvas is made of hemp fibres from 8000BC and it survives to this day! The Chinese created paper using hemp over 2000 years ago. During the great days of discovery almost all ships set sail using hemp ropes and sails. Pioneers crossed the newly found American frontier beneath wagons covered in hemp canvas sheets. Hemp seed was a mainstay in bread making in this country before wheat came along. It seems that hemp has always been a supercrop and yet it has been left behind with the advent of the industrial revolution and the introduction of foreign crops and fossil fuels, but all that may be changing.

Global Warming
As scientists and researchers look into new products to help tackle climate change, hemp, one of our oldest recorded crops, is taking centre stage. Here are a few key facts about this amazing crop

Pesticides & Pollution – Hemp can grow anywhere and needs much less pesticide control than other crops especially when compared with cotton which uses 25% of the world’s pesticides every year! Even more incredible is that hemp actually draws up toxins from the earth, almost cleaning it through a process called phytomerediation (1st-ecofriendlyplanet.com)

Erosion – due to the long roots of the hemp plant, soil suffers less erosion when a hemp crop is grown

Carbon Emissions – according to a recent report for LBJ, an acre of hemp has been recorded to remove up to 10times the amount of C02 from the atmosphere as an acre of trees.

High Yield – the same acre of hemp can produce fibres to make four times the amount of paper that the acre of trees can produce. One hectare of hemp can produce 1 tonne of fibre which in turn can create 5,400metres of hemp fabric.

Fast Growing – Hemp is one of the fastest growing crops on Earth reaching 3 metres in just 120 days, making it much more sustainable to farm than trees which can take up to 25years to reach the same height.

Low Irrigation – Hemp does not need anywhere near the amount of water demanded by thirstier crops such as cotton

Clean production – both paper and cotton industries are a huge source of pollution not least of all due to the fact that their fibres must be bleached, traditionally with chlorine. Hemp fibres do not need bleaching which makes for a much cleaner manufacturing process.

Biofuel potential – the hemp seed itself is high is oil content that is easily converted into hemp plastics and bio fuel similar to ethanol, thereby reducing our reliance on fossil fuels. It also releases much less carbon dioxide when burned and almost no sulfur dioxide compared with burning fossil fuel.

It seems that there is no end to the environmental advantages of this supercrop and the industries now using hemp in their own manufacturing grows daily, here are just a few:

Fuel
Plastics
Cosmetics
Construction
Paints
Medicines
Health and Well-being
Paper

And of course……Fabric!

Hardy Organic Hemp is suitable for curtains, blinds and domestic upholstery, comes in 13 vibrant shades and costs £79.00/m

Hemp Plus is suitable for all kinds of upholstery and curtains, comes in 31 gorgeous colours and costs £32.00/m

The applications are endless but the choice is yours!

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