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Hemp is the Future of Plastics

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Plastic is the world's most adaptable material. From bikes to food wraps and from jets to pencils, you can make anything and everything from plastics. With the infinite number of uses, plastic also have some devastating impacts on our planet. Most plastics produced today are made using petroleum-based compounds that release harmful gases into the atmosphere. Waste solutions are inefficient, and harmful by-products toxic our land, water and wildlife. Yet, consider the possibility that there was a way to deal with deliver the greater part of what we utilize causes a negative greenhouse impact, is sustainable and biodegradable and has just about an indistinguishable cost to our present techniques. Meet Hemp plastic, an only plastic that's 100% biodegradable in nature if produce by using only Hemp plant. Hemp plant consumes 4 times more carbon dioxide then other plants from atmosphere. The fiber we can produce from hemp is stronger than the conventional fiber we are using these days. This paper is intended to show numerous benefits of using hemp for the manufacturing of biodegradable plastic (HEMP PLASTIC) rather than conventional plastics.
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E3S Web of Conferences 51, 03002 (2018) https://doi.org/10.1051/e3scconf/20185103002
ICACER 2018
© The Authors, published by EDP Sciences. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution
License 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
*Corresponding author: tanzila@szabist.eu.pk
Hemp is the Future of Plastics
Ali Asghar Modi1, Rehmatullah Shahid1, Muhammad Usman Saeed1, Tanzila Younas2*
1Student, Szabist, Karachi and 75600, Pakistan
2Assistant Professor, Szabist, Karachi and 75600, Pakistan
Abstract. Plastic is the world’s most adaptable material. From bikes to food wraps and from jets to pencils,
you can make anything and everything from plastics. With the infinite number of uses, plastic also have some
devastating impacts on our planet. Most plastics produced today are made using petroleum-based compounds
that release harmful gases into the atmosphere. Waste solutions are inefficient, and harmful by-products toxic
our land, water and wildlife. Yet, consider the possibility that there was a way to deal with deliver the greater
part of what we utilize causes a negative greenhouse impact, is sustainable and biodegradable and has just
about an indistinguishable cost to our present techniques. Meet Hemp plastic, an only plastic that’s 100%
biodegradable in nature if produce by using only Hemp plant. Hemp plant consumes 4 times more carbon
dioxide then other plants from atmosphere. The fiber we can produce from hemp is stronger than the
conventional fiber we are using these days. This paper is intended to show numerous benefits of using hemp
for the manufacturing of biodegradable plastic (HEMP PLASTIC) rather than conventional plastics.
1 Introduction
Today plastic is one of the most used materials in the
world but its voyage through time was not easy. Plastics
are simply the carbon chained polymers and the shape of
these polymers’ gives plastics their plasticity, allowing
them to be molded into any shape which is why they are
the world’s most adaptable material. The word plastic is
a typical term that is utilized for some materials of a
manufactured or semi-engineered nature. The term was
gotten from the Greek plastikos, which signifies "fit for
enlargement."[1] Another reason of the vast use of
plastics is its manufacturing cost which is quite cheap
when compared to the manufacturing of same stuff with
different materials.
Since each photo has two sights, similarly plastics
have some devastating effects on Earth, directly as well
as indirectly. Majority of the plastics is being produced
by using petroleum based compounds which releases
harmful gases during synthesizing, contaminating the
Earth’s atmosphere.
Not only the manufacturing of plastics, but also its
endurance towards the degradation is also a major
drawback. Every piece of plastic that was ever produced
and was not recycled still exists except biodegradable
plastics, which are degradable to some extent. [2]
Therefore, to reduce the increasing environmental
pollution from synthetic plastic an alternative must be
developed. This need can be fulfilled by use of hemp
plastic, which is 100% biodegradable if produced using
only Hemp plant.
Figure 1. Increase in the fields of Hemp plant [3].
2 Types of Plastics
In order to understand the different types of plastics, one
needs to understand its composition and categorizing
criteria. Plastic is any synthetic or semi-synthetic organic
polymer. While plastics might be produced using pretty
much any natural polymer, most mechanical plastic is
produced using petrochemicals. The expression "plastic"
refers to the property of flexibility, which is the capacity
to disfigure without breaking. The polymer used to make
a plastic is quite often blended with added substances,
including colorants, plasticizers, stabilizers, fillers, and
fortifications. These added substances influence the
concoction structure, synthetic properties, and
mechanical properties of a plastic and furthermore
influence its cost. The composition and the
manufacturing of plastic categorize plastics mainly in
Biodegradable plastics and Non-biodegradable plastics.
2
E3S Web of Conferences 51, 03002 (2018) https://doi.org/10.1051/e3scconf/20185103002
ICACER 2018
As the name suggest, biodegradable plastics are
produced using petro-chemicals just like conventional
plastics except some additives are included in their
manufacturing which helps them in there fast
degradation. Biodegradable plastics don't always break
down into harmless substances, sometimes they leave
behind a toxic residue and that makes them generally
(but not always) unsuitable for composting. They can be
breakdown using microorganisms into water, carbon
dioxide and some bio chemical. And when they are put
into the landfills they produce harmful greenhouse gases
when breaking down, which makes them more toxic then
other conventional plastics. Some examples of
biodegradable plastics are polybutyrate (PBAT),
polycaprolactone (PCL), polylactic acid (PLA) and
polyhydroxalkanoate (PHA).
Figure 2. Examples of biodegradable plastics and
bio-plastics[4].
Figure 3. Basic comparison of bio-plastic and conventional
plastic [6].
Conventional plastics or non-biodegradable plastics are
mostly chemically inert i.e. resistant to degradation,
consequently ends up disrupting the wildlife, oceans and
land. [5] And one of the most destructive impact of
conventional plastic is that it is produced by the non-
renewable source i.e. Petroleum.
These impacts are fueling the international drives for
the production of biodegradable polymers.
3 Uses of Plastics
The flexibility of plastic materials originates from the
capacity to mold, laminate or shape them, and to modify
them physically and synthetically. Once anything made
of plastic was considered to be of low quality but now
that is history. Now days from the zip of your pants to
the bikes you are riding are made up of plastics. Even the
food industry uses an enormous amount of plastic.
Yoghurt and butter comes in plastic tubs, Cheese in
plastic wrap, water and milk in plastic containers. It is
even use in construction industry in great amount. They
have great versatility and combine excellent strength to
weight ratio, durability, cost effectiveness, low
maintenance and corrosion resistance, which make
plastics an economically attractive choice throughout the
construction sector. Its versatility is the reason that a
Plastic is suitable for any situation. The following
paragraphs will brief about the usage of plastic across the
globe.
Figure 4.Uses of Plastic in different type of industries [7].
3.1. In Food Packaging
From airtight wraps to shelf stable bottles and vessels,
plastic packaging plays a key role in keeping the food
safe while supplying it from farm to the consumer and is
a best used material for freezing foods for longer term
storage. [8] Plastics are versatile, hygienic, lightweight,
flexible and highly durable. Due to such qualities,
plastic is used in numerous packaging applications.
Figure 5. Use of plastic in food packaging.
3.2. In Construction
Plastics are used in a growing range of applications in
the construction industry. It’s durability is one of the
reason why it is used so frequently in construction as
being corrosion resistant, allowing it to survive in any
3
E3S Web of Conferences 51, 03002 (2018) https://doi.org/10.1051/e3scconf/20185103002
ICACER 2018
As the name suggest, biodegradable plastics are
produced using petro-chemicals just like conventional
plastics except some additives are included in their
manufacturing which helps them in there fast
degradation. Biodegradable plastics don't always break
down into harmless substances, sometimes they leave
behind a toxic residue and that makes them generally
(but not always) unsuitable for composting. They can be
breakdown using microorganisms into water, carbon
dioxide and some bio chemical. And when they are put
into the landfills they produce harmful greenhouse gases
when breaking down, which makes them more toxic then
other conventional plastics. Some examples of
biodegradable plastics are polybutyrate (PBAT),
polycaprolactone (PCL), polylactic acid (PLA) and
polyhydroxalkanoate (PHA).
Figure 2. Examples of biodegradable plastics and
bio-plastics[4].
Figure 3. Basic comparison of bio-plastic and conventional
plastic [6].
Conventional plastics or non-biodegradable plastics are
mostly chemically inert i.e. resistant to degradation,
consequently ends up disrupting the wildlife, oceans and
land. [5] And one of the most destructive impact of
conventional plastic is that it is produced by the non-
renewable source i.e. Petroleum.
These impacts are fueling the international drives for
the production of biodegradable polymers.
3 Uses of Plastics
The flexibility of plastic materials originates from the
capacity to mold, laminate or shape them, and to modify
them physically and synthetically. Once anything made
of plastic was considered to be of low quality but now
that is history. Now days from the zip of your pants to
the bikes you are riding are made up of plastics. Even the
food industry uses an enormous amount of plastic.
Yoghurt and butter comes in plastic tubs, Cheese in
plastic wrap, water and milk in plastic containers. It is
even use in construction industry in great amount. They
have great versatility and combine excellent strength to
weight ratio, durability, cost effectiveness, low
maintenance and corrosion resistance, which make
plastics an economically attractive choice throughout the
construction sector. Its versatility is the reason that a
Plastic is suitable for any situation. The following
paragraphs will brief about the usage of plastic across the
globe.
Figure 4.Uses of Plastic in different type of industries [7].
3.1. In Food Packaging
From airtight wraps to shelf stable bottles and vessels,
plastic packaging plays a key role in keeping the food
safe while supplying it from farm to the consumer and is
a best used material for freezing foods for longer term
storage. [8] Plastics are versatile, hygienic, lightweight,
flexible and highly durable. Due to such qualities,
plastic is used in numerous packaging applications.
Figure 5. Use of plastic in food packaging.
3.2. In Construction
Plastics are used in a growing range of applications in
the construction industry. It’s durability is one of the
reason why it is used so frequently in construction as
being corrosion resistant, allowing it to survive in any
weather.[9] These days, cost is an important factor in
industries and Plastics are one of the most economical
material. And an amazing property of plastic .i.e.
recycling beat metals in most of the places in industries.
3.3. In Transport
The financially savvy and safe transportation of
individuals and merchandise is essential to our economy,
cutting the weight of cars, airplanes, boats and trains can
cut fuel consumption dramatically. The lightness of
plastics therefore makes them priceless to the transport
industry. Plastics are even used in combination with
other materials are used as structural elements in all
kinds of transport, even skateboards, roller blades and
bicycles. [10]
Figure 6. Use of plastic in construction.
4 Comparison of Hemp with
Conventional plastics
The main factors which requires the replacement of
conventional plastics by Hemp plastic includes its
toxicity, chemically inertness, manufacturing hazards
and the limited amount of natural resources. The
following paragraphs enlighten some details on the
comparison of conventional and hemp plastics and the
need to replace them.
4.1. Composition
The ENE compounds, Toluene, benzene, things like that,
which are the most poisonous derivatives of plastics that
are produced from hydrocarbons aren’t found in Hemp.
[11]
4.2. Manufacturing
Most of the conventional plastic today is manufactured
using petroleum based compounds and petroleum
consumption is considered harmful to the environment,
given the measure of waste created amid the refinement
procedure and the destructive techniques used to separate
oil from the earth. And simultaneously we are losing one
of most important natural resource i.e. Petroleum in the
manufacturing of plastics. On the other hand, hemp
plastic is solely produced using the cellulose extracted
from hemp plant and therefore causes no toxicity during
its production.
4.3. Biodegradable and Recyclable
Hemp plastic is 100% biodegradable and recyclable
when it is made using completely a Hemp plant. We
traditionally think of recycling as the conversion of
waste into usable material, although if we use more
hemp plastic, we could introduce a new cycle that would
be much more environmentally friendly. Plants are
harvested and broken down into vital components for
production and a product is produced. After its
utilization, it is put into a landfill where nature will run
its course and separate it into required supplements basic
for the plant's development and the cycle is finished. [12]
Figure 7. Cycle of hemp plastic.
4.4. Environment friendly
Hemp absorbs four times the amount of carbon dioxide
as trees do amid its snappy 12-14 week develop cycle.
Delivering hemp plastic likewise requires 22-45% less
energy than non-renewable energy source based items
[13]. We can have fields, acres and acres, hectares of
hemp farms that are pulling carbon dioxide out of the
atmosphere (as plants do). Then, that carbon from the
carbon dioxide in the atmosphere gets used to make the
plastics, and the plastics, when they are going into a
landfill and they are no longer usable, will biodegrade
bringing carbon back into the soil. So, it’s essentially
carbon negative, pulling carbon out of the atmosphere
and putting it back into the soil.
4.5. Applications
The strength of hemp plastic makes it appealing in
several industries. The automotive, building, and
packaging industries are all being turned on to hemp
plastic. It is also lightweight and has a very high ratio of
density to weight. This allows it to potentially be used in
aerospace to save weight on heavy structures. Due its
versatility, hemp can be used anywhere for any purpose
replacing conventional plastics.
4.6. Production cost
Plastics produced using petroleum compounds are quite
cheap and easy to manufacture and on the other hand, the
processes involve in the production of biodegradable
plastic or specifically hemp plastics are quite expensive
and use more effort than the production of conventional
plastics.
4
E3S Web of Conferences 51, 03002 (2018) https://doi.org/10.1051/e3scconf/20185103002
ICACER 2018
Figure 8. Applications of Hemp plant [14].
Figure 9. Energy required for the production of different type
of plastics.
4.7. Toughness and Flexibility
Hemp Plastics can be five times stiffer and 2.5 times
stronger than polypropylene, and it will not cause wear
and tear to the screw and the mold like glass fibers do,
and unlike glass fibers, it does not pose safety and health
risks. [14] Its flexibility is one of the greatest factors for
its superiority over conventional plastics.
5 Conclusion
With an ever increasing number of plastics being utilized
in human lives and expanding weight being set on limits
accessible for plastic wastes disposal, the need for
biodegradable plastics and biodegradation of plastic
wastes have gained increasing importance in the last few
years. Also the available sources of petroleum oil is
declining (which is the major source of conventional
plastics) adds up for the need of an alternative way of
creating plastics. In any case, countries all through the
world do understand that petrochemical utilization
should be lessened, and hemp is being perceived as a
reasonable contrasting option to these plastics. There are
number of different bio plastics are available but the best
one among them is Hemp. Many factors as discussed
above prove hemp to be better than other bio plastics
such as its lightweight, versatility, degradation time etc.
Though producing plastics using only hemp plants
causes more efforts and money but the impacts that
conventional and other bio plastics are causing to this
Earth are getting unbearable and therefore conventional
plastics should be completely replaced with hemp
plastics.
References
1. Precision Engineered Products [Online]. Available:
http://www.pepctplastics.com/resources/connecticut
-plastics-learning-center/an-introduction-to-plastics/
2. L.Concialdi, May 03,2016. [Online]. Available:
https://discovercbd.com/blogs/cbd-
news/105784134-benefits-of-hemp- plastic-over-
traditional-plastic
3. Hemp Today. March 27,2017. [Online]. Available:
https://hemptoday.net/european-hemp-fields-grow/
4. L.Y. Beeker, M. Pringle Joshua, M. Pearce.
International Journal of Molecular Sciences
(September, 2009)
5. A.M.Helmenstine, November 15, 2016. [Online].
Available: https://www.thoughtco.com/plastic-
chemical-composition-608930
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https://www.slideshare.net/ShwetaChand2/bioplastic
-66639489
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their-solutions/
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https://www.plasticpackagingfacts.org/plastic-
packaging/plastic-packaging-by-industry/food-
beverage/
9. British Plastic Federation. 2018 [Online] Available:
http://www.bpf.co.uk/plastipedia/applications/defaul
t.aspx
10. T. Johnson. April 01, 2017. [Online] Available:
https://www.thoughtco.com/uses-of-plastics-820359
11. J.Hasse, May 05, 2017. [Online]. Available:
https://www.benzinga.com/markets/emerging-
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future-of-plastics
12. National Hemp Association (NHA), May 17, 2016.
[Online]. Available:
http://nationalhempassociation.org/hemp-plastic/
13. C. Woodford, June 11, 2017 [Online]. Available:
http://www.explainthatstuff.com/bioplastics.html
14. M. Karus and G. Leson. International Hemp
Association. Vol. 4 (June 01, 1997)
... The term "plastic" refers to a material's flexibility or ability to deform into any shape without breaking. Plastic is a carbon chained polymer allowing it to be molded into any shape; that is why they are the most adaptable material [127]. The majority of monomers used to make plastics like ethylene and polypropylene are derived from fossil fuel hydrocarbon. ...
... For this reason, increasing demand has been started in the world for the usage of high-performance bio-based plastics capable of being environmentally friendly and compensating depleting of petroleum resources [130]. Hemp plastic which is 100% biodegradable, can be a better alternative to synthetic plastic [127]. The cellulose of the hemp plant is rated 60-70%, which can be extracted for making a different range of plastics, including rayon, celluloid and cellophane. ...
... Researchers have evaluated a range of biopolymers for their usefulness as bio-plastic materials, e.g., cellulose, starch, collagen, casein, plant proteins [131]. Some of the biopolymers for bio-plastics are polybutyrate (PBAT), polycaprolactone (PCL), polylactic acid (PLA) and polyhydroxalkanoate (PHA) [127]. Wheat gluten is one of the most important biopolymers due to its low cost and high content of hydrogen bonds in the film [132]. ...
Article
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Global warming as a result of climate change has become a major concern for people all over the world. It has recently drawn the attention of the entire conscious community, with the fear that if not addressed properly, it will result in the extinction of numerous species around the world. At the same time, it will pose a threat to human health, food security, living environment and standard of living. Thereby, possible solutions are being explored accordingly, regulations have been imposed in places binding green production practices, limiting the emission of CO2 and emphasis is given on renewable resources along with the search for alternatives to carbon-positive materials. Cannabis sativa L. (hemp) has received a lot of attention because of its multipurpose usability, short production cycle, low capital demand in cultivation, possibility of carbon-negative transformation and easy carbon sequestering material. This paper reviews hemp as a very promising renewable resource including its potential uses in paper, textiles, composites, biofuel, and food industry.
... The high degree of unsaturated fatty acids in hemp seed oil could make it a replacement feedstock for plastic production (Callaway and Pate 2009). This would provide a biodegradable and environmentally friendly alternative to petroleum-based plastics (Modi et al. 2018;Ghasemlou et al. 2019). Still, lack of efficiency and current production costs may limit hemp from extensive industrial use (Young 2005). ...
Chapter
After a decades-long legal hiatus, hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) has begun to experience a renaissance as a plant for all reasons. Although much hyperbole has been given to hemp’s potential to “save the world,” the crop has historical precedent as a source of fibers, feed/food, fuel, biomolecules, and more. The crop’s numerous potential uses and unique characteristics could help support the transition of our current linear consumer economies into more circular economies that allow for greater recycling or upcycling of products and lower carbon footprints. This chapter reviews a number of the current and potential uses for hemp and some of the challenges that may be faced on the path to making hemp a vital component of sustainable societies.
  • L Y Beeker
  • M Joshua
  • M Pearce
L.Y. Beeker, M. Pringle Joshua, M. Pearce. International Journal of Molecular Sciences (September, 2009)
  • M Karus
  • G Leson
M. Karus and G. Leson. International Hemp Association. Vol. 4 (June 01, 1997)