TONY BUDDEN – DAY 16 – HEMP 1

The Hemporium has been going since 1996 making clothing and textile products, cosmetics and other products. The word canvas comes from cannabis. It is three times as strong as cotton, produces about four times the amount of fibre per hectare, uses much less water, pesticides and agri-chemicals. It is a very durable, strong, breathable fabric. So we decided to use the clothing as a messenger to tell people about what it can do.

We import the hemp from China, which has been growing it for more than ten thousand years and is the world leader in getting fabric from the plant. The South African government has been researching the plant for the past 22 years but it is still illegal. We believe this is because of ‘cannophobia’, which is an irrational fear of the plant together with the fact that its illegality protects other industries such as cotton, paper, synthetic fabrics.

Hemp fabric is biodegradable, unlike synthetic fabrics. Hempcrete is a natural building material. It stays in a much more temperate zone than concrete which gets very hot or cold. It has a moderating effect on humidity. It also makes chipboard, which is a by-product of the fabric industry. The plants grow in only four months. It is stronger and lighter than wood chipboard. An insulation mat made from hemp instead of fibreglass and is biodegradable too.

Hemp carpeting comes from India and is hand-made. Hemp plastic is 50% hemp and 50% plant-based polypropelene.

The hemp industry in the US was destroyed through activism by the Hearst Corporation, which saw it as competition for its investments in timber and cotton. The only countries that continued growing hemp were the communist countries which didn’t follow America.

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