Hemp was first used as paper in Central Asia, where hemp fabric was smashed down into thin sheets to make the world’s first paper. The first identified Hemp paper dates back to the early Western Han Dynasty, around 200-150 BC. Since then, Hemp paper has been used all across the world. The Gutenberg Bible, Thomas Paine’s pamphlets, and the novels of Mark Twain were all printed on Hemp paper. Hemp is highly suitable for paper as it has a high cellulose and low lignin content. Hemp paper is also more eco-friendly and sustainable than tree paper, as it can be produced much quicker. The quality of hemp paper is actually better than wood paper, as its pulp is superior to wood pulp.
Benefits of Hemp paper:
- - 1 acre of Hemp cultivation produces as much paper as 4-10 acres of trees over a 20-year cycle.
- - Hemp stalks grow in 4 months, where trees take 20-80 years.
- - Trees consist of only 30% cellulose, the chief ingredient of paper, which requires the use of toxic chemicals to remove the remaining 70%. Whereas Hemp plants can have have up to 85% cellulose content.
- - Hemp has far lower lignin content than wood. Hemp contains just 5% to 24% lignin whereas wood contains 20% to 35%. Since lignin must be removed from the pulp before it can be processed as paper, this feature of Hemp is a boon.
- - Hemp paper is more durable, and does not yellow, crack, or deteriorate, unlike tree paper.
- - Wider use of Hemp paper can help achieve environmental sustainability by reducing deforestation.