Photo by Chris Carnovale
The History of Hemp
800 BC - China creates first cloth fabric out of hemp
1200 BC - Hemp fibre used in the construction of the Egyptian Pyramids
1425 - People drink hemp beer
1492 - Columbus sails to America with sails and ropes made out of hemp
1776 - Declaration of Independence written on hemp paper
1889 - Van Gogh paints on hemp canvas
1942 - Hemp grown for war efforts
1970 - Controlled substances act classifies hemp along with marijuana and it becomes illegal
2017 - NOVEL SUPPLY CO. makes rad clothes out of hemp
Sustainability is a hot topic and on everyone’s minds these days (whether or not they believe it is important). Reduce, Reuse, Recycle is taught to everyone from a young age and many people are proud recyclers, but the unfortunate truth is that recycling is only the tip of the iceberg. To be able to recycle requires us to produce some sort of waste - with no waste the act of recycling cannot exist.
What a NOVEL idea. No waste.
Creating no waste goes much deeper than one can possibly imagine and unless you have personally visited and possibly lived on a farm you can’t even begin to fathom how much waste is produced in the creation of just a raw material let alone a finished product that you bring into your home.
If your ultimate goal is to be zero waste you have to think about the raw materials that are in everything you buy and if you want to buy clothing that is zero waste you want to buy hemp clothing and here is why:
Industrial hemp is a zero waste product.
Every part of the plant is used.
There are 2 parts to the hemp plant: Seed & Straw. The straw is then broken down into 2 parts, the fibres on the outside and the core of the plant called the shiv/hurd.
The seeds are harvested for human consumption, in snacks, oils etc.
The fibre on the outside is used to make textiles.
The core or shiv/hurd is used in building materials like Hempcrete. By the way - hemp as a building material is carbon NEGATIVE. Even after it is processed it is still a living breathing product that breaths in CO2 and breaths out O2.
Even if we don’t utilize any part of the plant, farmers till the crop back into the soil as fertilizer to build soils, replenishing farmlands that have been stripped of all their nutrients.
A few more facts about hemp vs. standard cotton:
- 50% more water is used in growing cotton
- 4x more water is used in the processing of cotton
- Less land and energy used
- Fewer pesticides and chemicals used
- 250% more fiber per hectare yielded
- 4x UV & UVB protection
- 4x wickability & antibacterial properties
- 4x more paper per acre produced than trees
- Hemp matures in 100 days, trees mature in 10 years
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
The first step in sustainability is reducing, and by choosing hemp from the start you have already substantially reduced the amount of resources you consume and have added a few nutrients back into the soil.
Before we even look at the next few steps we should all focus on how we can reduce and Kaya is leading by example in the sourcing and construction of her clothing. She has recently teamed up with Abel Wear to further reduce the amount of waste she produces by repurposing her scrap fabric. Abel Wear is a non-profit company that teaches women with barriers to employment how to sew so they can start their own businesses. These ladies will be turning her scraps into kids clothes.
Thank you, Kaya & NOVEL SUPPLY for showing us how we can reduce and look badass doing it. I recently purchased her Bear Cabin Crew sweater with the saying “The Forest is Home”. I truly feel this way and I hope the forest and my home will be around for many more generations to come and one of the ways we can ensure this is by promoting the use of sustainable fabrics and other goods made out of hemp.
Written by: Alyse Blair Stach
Holistic Nutritionist student at the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition. I have always had a passion for food, cooking, the environment, animals, and laughing. I recently explored the field of organic farming and fell in love quickly. There is nothing like the sun shining on your back in the fields with the weeds and veggies, laughing with your friends. I envision a future with a tiny house, dogs, chickens, the ocean, and a magical garden. Growing your own food is like printing your own money. - Ron Finley Guerilla Gardener.
Check out more rad blogs by Alyse @ alysestach.com.