Pesticides are strong chemicals used on crops to protect them and increase crop yields. These dangerous chemicals seep into the ground and run off in the irrigation water. Some of them are so strong and so dangerous one drop could kill a human. These are banned in the West, but they are still used today in some countries.
What does it mean?
The world consumes 25 million tons of cotton per year, and that figure is growing. 99% of cotton farmers are in developing countries with warm climates, and produce over 75% of the worlds cotton. This means that farmers in some of the most challenged places are using chemicals that pollute water sources and sicken people. In fact, over 20% of the pesticides used in the world today are for cotton crops.
Is there an alternative?
Hemp fibers can be used as a substitute for cotton fibers. Hemp itself is antimicrobial so it does not need the help of pesticides. Actually, it grows like a weed with very little help from mankind. It’s one of nature’s best crops. Hemp needs half the water to grow the same fiber yield as cotton, and 95% less agrochemicals. If just 1% of the cotton fibers used today were replaced with hemp fibers, it would eliminate the need for 650 tons of agrochemicals each year.
Just so you know, hemp is not cannabis. You can’t get stoned smoking hemp. Hemp only contains trace amounts of THC that is the psychoactive element of its twin, the cannabis plant. Hemp has been used since the medieval times for rope, cloth, twine, paper, ships sails, and much more.
It was made illegal in most of the world in the late 30’s because of its association with cannabis. Around the same time, chemical fibers such as polyester gained in popularity. Only China continued to grow hemp for industrial purposes. However, in the past several years many countries have lifted the ban on growing hemp for industrial purposes. That’s good news for the planet.
Hemp is good for the planet, and it’s also good for you!
As hemp growing makes a renaissance, weaving it into fashion textiles is a great way to reduce pollution from the fashion industry. Bohempia is busy innovating ways to do this and is currently making 100% hemp canvas for sneakers that is grown, processed, and produced in the EU.