Are you ready for the battle between hemp and cotton? Which one do you think will prevail as the winner?
Hemp Vs Cotton
Round 1: How did they come to be?
History was never very clear of the origins of hemp, but ancient use of hemp can be traced back to around 10,000 years ago of many different countries such as India, China, Egypt, Russia, Greece, and Italy. Back in 1619, it was actually mandatory by law to grow hemp, if you didn't, fines and even jail time would be the punishment. Hemp got so popular that in 1938 an article stated that hemp was the new cash crop, hailed as a million-dollar crop. This would mean that hemp was competing with oil, timber, and chemical industries.
Hemp was definitely a strong candidate to replace imported and manufactured products. Unfortunately, hemp was banned not long after 1937, it took a few years but in 1970 hemp was officially banned. Although along the years there were continuous requests for its legalization, which happened recently in 2018.
Origins of the use of cotton go back to approximately 6,000 B.C. It's believed that cotton production started in Mexico, India, and Pakistan. Cotton grew to be an enormous industry, counting for about 25 to 40% of the world's textiles, and materials that are now being manufactured from cotton. Cotton has converted into one of the most used materials around the globe.
Millions of tons of cotton are generated each year all around the world. The international cotton industry is accountable for approximately 12 billion dollars. China is the biggest producer of cotton in the world.
Hemp vs Cotton Result
It's extremely difficult to understand if hemp would be better than cotton under these circumstances. Mainly because of the ban of the hemp plant. But both plants stand to be useful for the production of many materials. So this seems to be a very close match, perhaps?
Round 2: How harmful are they for the environment?
Hemp is known as an amazing rotation crop. Hemp can grow on the same soil for about 14 years. And it can return around 60% of the nutrients back to the soil, which makes this plant a perfect healer for the environment as well. Not only does hemp not require any harmful pesticides but it also requires less water.
Did you know that you only require 2,123 liters of water to produce 1kg of hemp fiber?
Cotton requires twice as much land as hemp. It also pollutes the water and harms the soil and environment thanks to the need for harmful pesticides. In fact, cotton accounts for approximately 25% of all pesticides used in the entire world.
When it comes to the water required to make 1kg of fibers, cotton requires about 9,758 liters!
Hemp Vs Cotton Result
Cotton tried to take hemp down but there is no doubt that when it comes to preserving the environment hemp is clearly the winner.
Round 3: What is their purpose?
Hemp can be used for approximately 25,000 different things. Some of the most well-known are: paper, foods, fabrics, textiles, ropes, even fuels, building material, and body care lotions. Hemp can also be a good option for plastic because it only requires around 90 days to fully biologically deteriorate. Hemp makes an extraordinary building material, which can be waterproof, as well as fireproof. Hemp also makes an exceptional self-insulating material.
Are you ready for an interesting fact? Derek Kesek, the founder of Hempearth, stated that he would create the very original airplane that would be almost completely built with hemp. And even though this plan has yet to happen there are great expectations for it to be a success.
Cotton fibers can be used to produce materials such as velvet, flannel, and jersey. After, those materials will be later used for the production of things like t-shirts, jeans, towels, and bedsheets. Cotton fibers can also be used for the production of bandages, cotton swabs, coffee filters, and even tents.
Cotton oil for example can be used as an ingredient of margarine and vegetable oil. Cotton is also used in the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries. As well as being used for the manufacturer of the reproduction of rubber and plastic.
Hemp Vs Cotton Result
Although it was a very close match here. We can't ignore the fact that it's quite exciting to build a plane out of a plant! Hemp takes the lead with this impressive win.
Round 4: How long can they last?
Hemp is an antibacterial material, which makes it more resistant to mold and mildew. Hemp fabrics are breathable but also hold heat which makes it a perfect fabric for all seasons. Hemp is soft yet very strong, it's extremely durable and lasts 4 times more than cotton.
Another great thing about hemp is that it doesn't pill, and gets softer with time.
Cotton fabric is breathable, it lasts for around ten years. Because of its softness but not as strong as hemp. Cotton fabric is also more likely to break down with time when compared with hemp.
Hemp Vs Cotton Result
It's pretty clear that hemp wins this round too. It's strong durability, antibacterial properties, and long-lasting lifespan make hemp a clear winner.
Final Round: Pros and Cons
- Grows faster (around 90 days)
- Good for the environment and completely biodegradable
- Requires less water
- It heals the soil
- Does not require chemicals to grow
- Very durable and strong fibers
- Not legal throughout the globe
- Due to being banned for years, it's a small industry
- Might be more expensive than other materials
- It feels softener on the skin
- Flexible fabric
- Breathable and soft
- Completely biodegradable
- A very big and profitable industry
- It's not beneficial for the environment
- Needs more land to grow
- Requires a lot of water
- Needs pesticides and harmful chemicals to grow
- Cotton production can be harmful to the environment and to our health
And the winner is...
Even though it has been a close competition at certain rounds, it's clear that hemp is the winner. Thanks to its powerful strength to face its competition and kindness towards the environment. Hemp is not only a stronger, durable, beneficial, and important part of environmental sustainability but it's also a crucial part of the healing of our planet because hemp enhances the microbial content in the soil where it grows. It also stops weeds from sprouting near it. Its thick roots prevent soil decay.
This super plant can sustain our planet with many of the materials that we need daily while conserving the well being of our planet.