Why hemp paper? I thought wood was best.

Thanks to Living Tree Paper company for these facts.

Producing pulp and paper casts an ecological shadow far beyond its impact on the world's forests. Converting trees into paper uses large amounts of water, energy, and chemicals and generates vast amounts of air and water pollution.

The pulp and paper industry is the fifth largest consumer of energy, accounting for 4 percent of all the world's energy use.

The pulp and paper industry uses more water to produce a ton of product than any other industry.

Consumers play a pivotal role in reshaping the future of the pulp and paper industry.

40 percent of office paper still ends up in overburdened landfills.

Expanding the reuse of paper reduces the pressure to cut more trees, reduces demand on over burdened waste disposal systems and cuts energy use and pollution. One ton of recycled paper produces one ton of new paper, which is far more efficient than using virgin wood fiber.

Annual plants such as flax and hemp have been used in papermaking for thousands of years.

Non-wood fibers such as flax and hemp are rapidly renewable resources that can contribute to more environmentally-sound fiber blends.

Flax and hemp yield longer fibers and can assist in creating high quality paper when added to shorter fiber resources such as recycled office paper (post-consumer waste).

1 ton of Living Tree Paper Company's Vanguard Recycled Plus* requires 43.69% less energy to produce the the same amount of virgin pulp paper. That is an energy saving equal to 4,920 Kilowatt Hours of Electricity, an amount equivalent to operating the average Northwest home for 6 months. This reduces the atmospheric emissions of Greenhouse Gases by 2097 pounds, an amount equal to driving the average car for 2468 miles.

Hemp as Paper

Hemp fabric was smashed down into thin sheets to make the world's first paper. 75-90% of all paper in the world was made with hemp fiber until 1883. The Gutenberg Bible, Thomas Paine's pamphlets, and the novels of Mark Twain were all printed on hemp paper. Both the U.S. Constitution and the Declaration of Independence were drafted on hemp, and then copied onto parchment.

Both the long bast fiber and the short bast fiber (hurd or pulp) can be used to make paper. Fiber paper is thin, tough, brittle, and rough. Pulp paper is not as strong, but is easier to make, softer, thicker, and preferable for most everyday purposes.

In the next 20-30 years the paper demand is supposed to at least double due to the economic emergence of third world countries, and the ever-expanding worldwide population. There is no way to meet this demand without clear-cutting every tree in the entire world. Paper is big business, and 93% of the world's paper is made of wood. Think about how much of a difference it would make if commercial industries like San Francisco hotels and Miami hotels were to adopt hemp toilet paper. That alone could make an enormous difference in the way the war on global warming is fought.

Hemp Pulp vs. Tree Pulp for Paper

Making paper from trees is kind of a joke, because trees are made up of only 30% cellulose. The other 70% of the tree must be removed using toxic chemicals, until the cellulose can be formed into paper. The higher the percentage of cellulose in a plant, the better, because fewer chemicals need to be used, and less work needs to be done before the paper can be made. Almost any plant in nature with a strong stalk is better suited to make paper than trees, especially hemp because it can be 85% cellulose.

Hemp makes paper stronger and which lasts centuries longer than wood paper, which could be very valuable for people who want to keep records aside from on computers. Hemp paper does not yellow, crack, or otherwise deteriorate like tree paper does now. The acids which are needed for wood paper eventually eat away at the pulp and cause it to turn yellow and fall apart. Because of this publishers, libraries, and archives have to order specially processed acid free paper, but they could just buy hemp paper which already meets their quality standards.

Hemp paper also does not require any bleaching, and so does not poison the water with dioxins or chlorine like tree paper mills do. The chemicals involved in making hemp paper are much less toxic, in fact, both paper made from hemp hurd, and from the long bast fiber can be made without any chemicals at all, but it takes longer to separate the fiber from the lignin. Making paper from hemp could also eliminate erosion due to logging, reduces topsoil loss, and water pollution caused by soil runoff.

One acre of hemp can produce as much paper as 4 to 10 acres of trees over a 20-year cycle, but hemp stalks only take four months to mature, whereas trees take 20 to 80 years. This information was known in 1916, according to a USDA report. Hemp paper can also be recycled more often, though this fact is not of much value, since hemp is a reusable resource.


Since 1937, when hemp was effectively outlawed, 70% of American natural forests have been destroyed. Today, only 4% of Americaís old-growth forest remains standing, and there is talk of building roads into that for logging purposes! Hemp growing could completely negate the necessity to use wood at all because anything made from wood can be made from hemp.

The plant kenaf is better suited than hemp for making some qualities of paper, but hemp has one huge advantage, hemp generates an immense amount of plant matter in a four month growing season. Plants like Kenaf just cannot produce enough plant material to make enough paper for what the world demand is and will soon become, making hemp the only organic paper which makes sense. If hemp farming were only geared toward papermaking, it would still be a giant move to improve the planet.

Germany's largest paper company converted two mills to hemp-based paper production, even though large mills require 40-60% of the equipment to be retooled to switch to hemp based paper. Hemp paper is the one area of the possible hemp market that would require a lot of equipment change, but the need exists to change the equipment, or we will not be left with any more trees for shade, scenery, and good old-fashioned air. The construction costs to convert our paper mills from tree-based paper to hemp is around $100-300 million, which would at the same time open doors for new jobs and opportunities to build new equipment.

The reason for these equipment changes lies in the fact that the hemp fiber is so strong. The chains of cellulose molecules are arranged as a rigid structure glued together by the lignin, which must be separated before the fiber can be arranged into paper.

Hemp currently makes up around .05% of the world annual pulp production volume at around 120,000 tons/year because importation costs result in prices which are 2-3 times that of tree paper, but Living Tree Paper Company out of Oregon is starting to make headway. There paper, which is 10% hempflax & 90% post-consumer waste, is now being sold in 1,000 Staples stores across the country. Next time you need paper for your computer, choose the paper which is friendly to the environment. One of Living Tree Paper Company's slogans is, "The paper you choose says as much about you as the image you print on it.



 Hemp does not require herbicides or pesticides.\n• Hemp can be grown in a wide range of latitudes and altitudes.\n• Hemp replenishes soil with nutrients and nitrogen, making it an excellent rotational crop.\n• Hemp controls erosion of the topsoil.\n• Hemp converts CO2 to oxygen better than trees.\n• Hemp produces more oil than any other crop, which can be used for food, fuel, lubricants, soaps, etc.\n• Hemp seeds are a very healthy food, being one of the highest protein crops and high in omega oils.\n• Hemp can be used for making plastics, including car parts.\n• Hemp makes paper more efficiently and ecologically than wood, requiring no chemical glues.\n• Hemp can be used to make fiberboard.\n• Hemp can be used to make paint.\n• Hemp can produce bio-fuel and ethanol (better than corn).\n• Hemp can be grown more than once per year.\n• Hemp fibers can make very strong rope and textiles.




Hemp VS Trees: One Billion Reasons To Use Hemp Instead

Updated on December 24, 2016
Clear Cutting Pulpwood--One Billion Trees a Year in United States
Clear Cutting Pulpwood--One Billion Trees a Year in United States | Source

One Billion Trees

Some hard to hear facts:

In the United States alone, paper companies consume over one billion trees each year and convert it to pulp to make paper. It takes that many trees to provide an average of 735 pounds of paper for each and every person. That number is expected to rise approximately 60% by the year 2050. The United States uses up about 32 % of the world’s paper. In the US, only about 5 % of our once vast virgin forest remain. We are using up our trees faster than we are growing new ones. At that rate, we have to import more trees from other parts of the world forest just to meet the demand.

In the United States paper mills are the third largest energy consumer and the third largest industrial polluter. We pump over 220 million pounds of toxic pollution into the world’s air and water each year.

The pulp and paper industry dumps close to 120 billion tons of CO2 and 3 million tons of chlorine into our waterways which is a major source of carcinogenic dioxins. These poisens are known to be the most toxic materials ever produced. In turn, these cause cancer, liver failure, miscarriages, birth defects and genetic damage. Every woman now has traces of these chemicals and transfer them through breast milk.

And yet, we continue in an ever increasing amount, to continue.

Herbert Hoover and Cohorts
Herbert Hoover and Cohorts | Source

Theory of Illegal Hemp

Theory or Conspiracy, either way, growing hemp became illegal to grow in the early 1930’s. The story goes something like this:

Back in day, during the presidency of Herbert Hoover, there was also two powerful,rich, and influential men, Dupont, of the chemical industry, and Hearst, of the paper and wood industries. Dupont supplied the chemicals needed for Hearst to process his paper. And then, there was a third man, a man that Herbert Hoover created a position for, the Bureau of Narcotics, Harry Anslinger. All three played an important part of what happened next.

Pulp Making Machine
Pulp Making Machine | Source

Growing of hemp was already a thriving industry, supplying the byproducts of hemp to make things like rope, and clothing, and a myriad of other products. Then, like has happened so much during the industrial revolution, a new machine was invented, a machine that could process hemp and make it feasible to produce hemp pulp in an economical way and a way to produce paper efficiently without the use of major chemicals or trees. This did not sit well with Dupont or Hearst. And so, Harry Anslinger came into the picture. His job was to eliminate the threat by creating a fear among the people about the dangers of anything hemp related. He did his job well, he created the attitude and laws that made hemp a demon from the very gates of hell. It didn’t take long to quench the possibility of a better, cheaper, paper. Both Dupont and Hearst fared well while America who had just survived the ending of alcohol prohibition, were now faced with this new prohibition. And except for a break in it for for the use of hemp for war purposes, the war on hemp continued, even to this day.

What was taken away by generations before, is now being returned by the generation of today.

New Generations

This new generation, the millennial generation, has got the momentum to drive the legalization of hemp in all fifty states. After all, it's a just fight that will not only benefit this generation, but will provide positive results for generations far into the future. It is time for hemp prohibition to end.

And, besides that, hemp being utilized for paper is an obvious and worthwhile undertaking, it is also good to take a quick look at some of the other benefits.of legalizing the growing of this plant.

Here is a consolidated list of what else hemp can do:

  • Rope

  • Clothing

  • Food

  • Textiles

  • Plastics

  • Insulation

  • Biofuel

  • Animal bedding

  • Mulch

  • Moisturizing Creams

  • Cooking Oil


Some Other Points to Ponder about Hemp:

Hemp paper doesn’t need much in the way of chemical processing; it can be bleached and whitened with hydrogen peroxide, which doesn’t poison waterways like chloride and bleach such as used for wood pulp paper. Paper made with hemp, will last hundreds of years and will not decompose and get yellow. Regular paper is lucky if it even last fifty years. Hemp paper can be recycled eight times compared to regular paper which generally can only be recycled about three times. One acre of hemp is the same as four acres of trees.

Companies who are Leading the Way

Four of the best who are leading the way. Be sure to check out each of their websites, they each are loaded with valuable information and product selections.

  • Colorado Hemp Company (.com)
  • Green Field Paper Company (,asp)
  • Hemphasis (.net)
  • Industrial Hemp (.net)


Get Involved

Join the fight to get hemp legalized and utilized for the good of all. Here are some great starting points.

  • Vote Hemp (.com)
  • Freedom Activist (.net)
  • Alliance of Cannabis Hemp Activists (ACHA (facebook)


Homemade deckle and deckle mold
Homemade deckle and deckle mold | Source

Making Your own Hemp Paper at Home

The following will give you a good idea on how to make your own hemp paper at home. It is not intended to be a hands-on instruction manual and does not take the place of training with an experienced paper maker, but is a good precursor.

Supplies & Equipment Needed

Hemp fiber pulled in slivers, Water source, Large pots, large spoon, heat source, mesh strainer, large plastic tub, heavy whisk, 5 gal bucket, small plastic containers, flat wood boards, large piece of felt, blotter paper, deckle and deckle mold, wool fabric large, cotton interface, press, sheets of flat cardboard, a bunch of bricks.

How to Make Hemp Paper


Steps Involved to Make Hemp Paper

  1. Fill a tub with water and place fibers in it, soak overnight

  2. Pour in soda ash(use instruction about amount on container)

  3. Cook on stove for four to five hours. Cool down

  4. Strain and rinse fibers

  5. Break the fibers into chucks

  6. Beat the chucks with a mixer for a couple of hours

  7. Place the beaten pulp into bucket

  8. Place pulp into large clean container

  9. Cover with several inches of water

  10. Put a flat wood board bigger than you deckle next to the the container

  11. Make a sheet of blotter paper to lay down on wood board

  12. Lay a sheet of felt on top of blotter paper

  13. Clamp deckle and deckle mold together with your hands

  14. Place deckle and mold into slurry

  15. Lift and let excess slurry run out of mold

  16. Remove and turn upside down and place on felt

  17. Press the bottom of mold down with all of your body weight

  18. Carefully remove the deckle and frame

  19. Place cotton interlacing on top of paper

  20. Repeat adding another sheet

  21. When finished making a stack, add a flat board to top

  22. Add bricks to press it until paper is dry



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