Plastic production in the United States heavily relies on fossil fuels, giving the industry a relatively large carbon footprint. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s data from 2010, 13 billion cubic feet of natural gas was used in petroplastic production, along with 190 million barrels of hydrocarbon gas liquids (this is a byproduct of oil and gas refinement). The trading of fossil fuels internationally compromises U.S. economic power in exchange for this resource.
Large scale utilization of bioplastics (plastic made from renewable resources like biomass) would significantly decrease US foreign fossil fuel consumption, aiding in the goal of fossil fuel independence and possibly lead to a reduction in US military presence worldwide. Furthermore, bioplastics would decrease our national carbon footprint even more since the biomass used to produce the plastic sequesters carbon dioxide. Many bioplastics are fully biodegradable, and would not accumulate in the environment like plastic pollution that currently plagues our land and oceans.
New greener technologies will replace old dirty industries and will provide new jobs to replace and diversify the economy. As a fast growing plant and source of biomass, Hemp will play a huge part in this green revolution. Biofuels, biomass, timber, pseudo-graphene super materials, nutraceuticals, construction, soil remediation, and bioplastics are just some of the areas hemp could potentially clean up. Hemp fibers have been used in plastic composite materials that are used in the construction and automotive industry. Research from Alberta Canada shows graphene-like carbon nanosheets made from hemp can perform well as a super capacitor battery.
If you live in America and want to directly show your support for industrial hemp to your representatives, go to VoteHemp to contact your representatives.