Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Small Step 4 US Industrial Hemp

There's still a long way to go before paper production in the United States finds help with its environmental and economic sustainability through incorporation of hemp fiber, but a step in that direction recently occurred as last week North Dakota issued the first the licences in the nation to grow industrial hemp.

From VoteHemp.org: Much of the energy and chemical intensive method for pulp processing is related to the removal of lignin, which bind the cellulose together. While lignin content of wood runs as high as 23-34% and rice and kenaf straw provide lignin at 9-15%, industrial hemp can be as low as 3%, enhancing the environmentally friendly aspects of non-wood paper production. Lower lignin content also generally corresponds to higher proportions of cellulose. Wood fibers are less than 50% cellulose while hemp (core) contains up to 77% cellulose, making it valuable pulping material.

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