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Cotton cultivation uses more pesticides than almost any other crop

5. 1. 2020

Pesticides are strong chemicals used on crops to protect them and increase crop yields. These dangerous chemicals seep into the ground and run off in the irrigation water. Some of them are so strong and so dangerous one drop could kill a human. These are banned in the West, but they are still used today in some countries.

What does it mean?

The world consumes 25 million tons of cotton per year, and that figure is growing. 99% of cotton farmers are in developing countries with warm climates, and produce over 75% of the worlds cotton. This means that farmers in some of the most challenged places are using chemicals that pollute water sources and sicken people. In fact, over 20% of the pesticides used in the world today are for cotton crops.

Is there an alternative?

Hemp fibers can be used as a substitute for cotton fibers. Hemp itself is antimicrobial so it does not need the help of pesticides. Actually, it grows like a weed with very little help from mankind. It’s one of nature’s best crops. Hemp needs half the water to grow the same fiber yield as cotton, and 95% less agrochemicals. If just 1% of the cotton fibers used today were replaced with hemp fibers, it would eliminate the need for 650 tons of agrochemicals each year.

Just so you know, hemp is not cannabis. You can’t get stoned smoking hemp. Hemp only contains trace amounts of THC that is the psychoactive element of its twin, the cannabis plant. Hemp has been used since the medieval times for rope, cloth, twine, paper, ships sails, and much more.

It was made illegal in most of the world in the late 30’s because of its association with cannabis. Around the same time, chemical fibers such as polyester gained in popularity. Only China continued to grow hemp for industrial purposes. However, in the past several years many countries have lifted the ban on growing hemp for industrial purposes. That’s good news for the planet.

Hemp is good for the planet, and it’s also good for you!

As hemp growing makes a renaissance, weaving it into fashion textiles is a great way to reduce pollution from the fashion industry. Bohempia is busy innovating ways to do this and is currently making 100% hemp canvas for sneakers that is grown, processed, and produced in the EU.

Why are sustainable fashion products so important?

15. 12. 2019

The fashion industry is second behind the petroleum industry as the most pollutive industry in the world, and it’s growing rapidly. Boston Consulting Group reports that the current consumption of textiles globally is 63 million tons a year, and predicts it to grow 63% to 102 million tons by 2030. This is driven by population growth in general, and GDP growth in developed countries that consume fashion products.

What does that matter?

While there are many ingredients used within the fashion industry, the world consumes approximately 25 million tons of cotton per year. If the demand for cotton follows the demand for clothing, then by 2030 the world will need 40 million tons of cotton. That means 15 million additional hectares of land just to grow the cotton.

Think of this. The world will need a land mass roughly the size of Australia just to supply the annual demand for cotton.

Is there an alternative?

Hemp fibers can be used as a substitute for cotton fibers. It takes roughly one hectare of land to grow one ton of harvested cotton. It takes half that to grow one ton of harvested hemp. If you also consider that hemp grows fast and can be harvested two times a year, then it takes one quarter of the land to grow the equivalent of cotton.

It gets better. Not only does hemp need less land to grow the same yield as cotton, it enriches the soil. Hemp is naturally resistant to pests, so it does not require harmful pesticides which leach into the soil and ground water. It grows densely, preventing weeds from growing, thus no harmful weed killers are necessary. This is good news for humans, but also for the bees. On top of all that, hemp has long roots so it helps against ground erosion, and because hemp enriches the soil, it makes an excellent rotation crop.

Using hemp fibers in your fashion products will help the earth, not hurt the earth.

Another amazing fact about hemp is that hemp can grow in soil that has been contaminated with toxins and heavy metals. As it grows is absorbs these and this is called phytoremediation, or using Phyto (plants) to remediate (clean-up). Hemp grown for this purpose can then be used as a bio-fuel, or ethanol.

Hemp is good for the planet, and it’s also good for you!

The benefits to the planet as hemp grows are enormous. In addition to the goodness of hemp growing for the soil, it’s great for the atmosphere too. One ton of harvested hemp removes 1.6 tons of CO2 from the atmosphere.

Once hemp is harvested it can be used for so many things. It can be used to make paper and construction materials which reduces the need to cut down trees. At Bohempia, we are turning hemp plants into shoes and other fashion items, reducing the need for pollutive cotton.

It just gets better and better. Clothing made of hemp will filter harmful UV rays, and hemp is naturally antimicrobial so it adds a layer of protection to your skin. Join the hemp revolution and the crusade against climate change.

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