With cotton being such a powerhouse in the global fabric market, how does hemp compare?
Knowledge of hemp’s benefits go all the way back to our ancestors who knew that hemp was warmer than cotton, softer than cotton, more water absorbent than cotton, more durable than cotton, and has 3-5 times the tensile strength of cotton. You will find twenty five percent of all chemicals used in the agriculture industry are used in cotton farming! Good news, hemp doesn’t need any synthetic chemicals to grow, it is a friendly plant with few insect or weed enemies.
Did you know that cotton harvesting uses more than 275 million lbs of pesticides annually in the United States alone? This fact makes cotton non-environmentally friendly and one of the world’s most destructive crops. This statistic doesn’t even include the mass amounts of defoliants, growth regulators, fertilizers, and general biocides like methyl bromide.
The type of fibre harvested with the above process is called conventional cotton. It is farmed on only 3% of the world’s agriculture land, yet needs 25% of the globe’s chemical fertilizers and pesticides. When conventional cotton is manufactured, it requires formaldehyde, bleaches, and many other chemical finishes. These ingredients lead to chemical residues, which may cause respiratory problems and skin irritation.
Hemp is SUPER water absorbent – four times more than cotton, in fact – and has outstanding wicking abilities. This makes it fantastic for hemp bed sheets, towels, and even nappies! Each hemp fibre bundle can reach a maximum of twenty feet long, while cotton yields only three-quarters of an inch, making hemp three times more durable and gives it six times more tensile strength than cotton. Did you know that one acre of hemp can yield as much functional fibre as two acres of cotton, or even four acres of trees?
With hemp’s incredible sustainability, warmth, strength, absorbency, and yield, it wins over cotton on every level.