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How hemp can help promote sustainability

Updated: Nov 2, 2022


Fashion is a crazy little world of its own. It is a form of expression, away from the rules of the world. And the best part is, every person has a personalized fashion sense. Especially now, with social media taking over the world, how we look, what we wear is a matter of strong importance. Hence the consumption of outfits has become way more than ever! But have you ever wondered where does all this fabric come from? And what impact does this excessive fabric production has on our ecosystem? And is there any way in which we can keep up with our fashion needs and also maintain an ecological balance? Let’s find out!

Fast Fashion Fabric- The Problem

The term fast fashion is synonymous to fast food. It fills your momentarily appetite to look good, it is cheap, but it is not good for the health of this planet! Fast fashion industry uses synthetic fabrics because their processing is fast and cheap. These fabrics create a lot of pollution, including excessive water wastage. More so, these fabrics are as good as plastic. They are non-biodegradable and are only adding to the existing plastic problem. As per the latest stats, the fashion industry produces around 80 billion garments a year! It is way more than required for every person on this planet! Let’s discuss what’s wrong with it.

Toxic water waste generated in garment production gets dumped into the water bodies.

  1. Microfibres, like microplastic, come off the cheap synthetic fabrics every time we wash our clothes. These microfibres are hazardous to aquatic life when consumed through water.

  2. The factory setup of the garment industry takes a lot of coal consumption. Hence the carbon footprint of the fashion industry is extremely high!

Does that mean we don’t have a solution to this menace? Of course, there’s a solution to every problem if people really want to bring a change. Let’s talk about them.

Alternatives to Synthetic Fabric

With people becoming more aware of the microfibres issue, there has been a noticeable shift in the demand from synthetic fabric to natural fabric. People are now steering towards more sustainable fabrics like bamboo and cotton. Both these alternatives are far better than the cheap synthetic fabrics, which are nothing but a time bomb to our planet earth.

Cotton and bamboo fabrics have very less microfibres as compared to the synthetic options, hence are a better choice. However, there’s a big catch here too! Cotton and bamboo may be natural, but the process of extracting fabric out of them at such a large scale comes with its own problems.

The cotton crop requires a great amount of water to grow. While the fabric may be more sustainable, the production alone is a threat to our very precious resource- Water. Moreover, after the cultivation of cotton, there are chances of soil erosion. Even if that doesn’t happen, the cotton plant rips the nutrients off the soil, making rotational farming a challenge.

If we talk about bamboo, there’s a similar problem with the processing of fabric. Extracting fabric out of bamboo plants requires a lot of chemical processing. Again, the remains of these chemicals either seep into the soil or flow into the water bodies, making the whole process harmful.

So what is the solution after all? We surely have one magical plant to save us from the doom! Keep reading to find out!

The Saviour Fabric- Hemp

As multipurpose as the cannabis family can get, the most ground-breaking extraction from cannabis is hemp products. Hemp is an innocent plant from the cannabis family and is a boon to mankind! But before we talk about its role in the fashion industry, let us clear out one very obvious doubt that is lingering in your mind. Industrial Hemp is not a recreational drug, unlike marijuana, another plant from the cannabis family. Having set the tone right here, let’s explore the benefits of hemp fabric!

Hemp fabric is extracted from the fibers of stalks of the hemp plant. These fibers are softened, usually in water, and then woven into the desired fabric. This fabric is a raw material for almost anything and everything that can be made out of any other fabric.

The texture of hemp fabric is similar to linen, but hemp fabric is more durable! This Fabric can be made into clothing items, or goods such as bags, wallets and shoes!

But the question remains, how is hemp fabric more sustainable than other options?

Hemp Fabric and Sustainability

Hemp belongs to the family of cannabis, which is a weed. By definition, a weed plant can grow without much effort! Similarly, hemp can grow easily in a range of soils. It doesn’t require too much care! In fact, it doesn’t require too much water also! The hemp crop takes almost 50 percent less water than the cotton plant!

Not only this, it keeps the soil bounded, hence reducing the chances of soil erosion. This obviously means that the soil quality doesn’t deplete, making hemp a better crop for industrial use!

Moreover, the hemp textile is biodegradable. That means not only is hemp fabric good for your fashion, but it is also a treat for our ecosystem too! So do we have the answer to the big question of the most sustainable fabric? We think we do!

Hemp is by far the most eco-friendly textile option. It is just that over the years, the image of the hemp plant has been tarnished because of its association with the marijuana family. So obviously there has been difficulty in extracting permissions for hemp farming. However, people are now understanding the difference between marijuana and industrial hemp. It is now feasible to grow hemp for all kinds of legal industrial uses. Now the tables have turned towards the consumers whether they would like to drop the fast fashion brands and opt for the hemp alternatives! At the end of the day, the sooner these shifts are made, the longer we can make our planet survive!

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Do you think Hemp is a way to a sustainable future?

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