There’s nothing worse than being misunderstood. Especially when you’ve been around forever, you’re nutritious and delicious to eat, and you’re an environmentally-friendly alternative to some of the major pollutants threatening the planet.
USHERING IN A NEW AGE OF HEMP
The differences between hemp and it’s THC-containing cousin marijuana are now becoming more widely understood. At the end of 2018 the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code was changed to include hemp as a legal food product. 12 months on, Kiwis now have an ever-increasing variety of products containing nutritious hemp ingredients.
Hemp is in fact an extremely versatile and fast-growing plant and there are countless ways it is quickly becoming part of everyday life in Aotearoa. Here are seven uses of hemp.
1. BETTER PLASTIC
The number of times we come into contact with plastic every single day is almost impossible to count, and even though we may only use each item for a few minutes, they can take centuries to decompose, polluting our land and oceans in the process. Hemp plastic can be made from a natural substance called cellulose, which is found in the plant. Because hemp plastics are also free from chemicals such BPA and petroleum, they are easier and cleaner to recycle.
2. SUSTAINABLE PAPER
Deforestation is one of today’s significant environmental issues, but at the same time demand for wood products keeps increasing globally with pulp and paper processing contributing to industrial pollution. While hemp paper made from pulp obtained from industrial hemp fibres isn’t a new concept, it’s certainly a sustainable one. Hemp grows far more quickly than trees, and hemp paper doesn’t need to be bleached with toxic chemicals, is more durable and doesn’t yellow with age.
3. NEXT-GEN BEAUTY
In an age when everyone is time poor, one-stop products are in high demand. Thanks to a high vitamin content, and being rich in Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, hemp seed oil is used frequently in anti-ageing products.
4. ENERGY-EFFICIENT HOMES
Hemp was used in building materials way back in Ancient Rome, and now it has become popular again as a sustainable and environmentally-friendly building product. Hemp fibres can be mixed with lime to create hemcrete – a natural, light concrete that retains thermal mass, and is now used frequently for insulation.
5. ECO-FRIENDLY CLOTHES
Move over cotton – hemp fabric is the new trending textile. Hemp fabric is more porous than cotton, allowing skin to breathe. It also softens with age and is more durable than cotton, making it ideal for basics such as t-shirts and jeans. Compared with cotton, hemp needs far less water to grow, and requires fewer pesticides or fertilisers.
6. BIO FUEL
Hemp can provide two types of fuel: hemp biodiesel (made from the oil of the hemp seed), and hemp ethanol/methanol (made from the fermented stalk). It is considered one of the most cost-efficient and environmentally-friendly fuel crops because it is renewable, safe to store and handle, and is clean-burning.
Hemp seeds are a rich source of nutrients and, not surprisingly, are becoming increasingly popular with those wanting less meat in their diet. Rich in healthy fats and essential fatty acids, they are also a great protein source and are packed with vitamins and minerals. Their pleasantly nutty taste makes them a great addition to a variety of foods. Bean Supreme’s healthy Hemp Burger includes green peas, spinach, kale and hemp seeds for an all-round burst of goodness – it’s no wonder this burger has a maximum 5 Health Star rating!
For an easy way to start making hemp part of your diet, try out this delicious recipe for hemp wraps.