Hemp is becoming increasingly popular in clothing, and although cotton is still the most common fabric, which is better for the environment: cotton or hemp?
What is hemp?
The most common questions about hemp are: Is hemp a drug? Is hemp marijuana?
Hemp is not marijuana. Both plants are cousins, but hemp has low levels of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) which is the main psychoactive component of marijuana.
Hemp has been used for thousands of years and can be refined into a variety of commercial items, including textiles, biodegradable plastics, biofuel, and food.
Cotton or hemp?
Cotton is by far the most popular fabric in the world, but which is more sustainable: cotton or hemp?
1️⃣ Both cotton and hemp are both natural fibres, which means that are biodegradable, and they don’t produce microplastics. (make sure it’s 100% cotton!)
2️⃣ Water: cotton needs a huge amount of water to grow, around 1400 gallons of water to grow a single pound of cotton. Also, cotton also tends to be grown in parts of the world where water is scarce. More than one-half of the world’s cotton fields rely on irrigation. Hemp can grow with very little irrigation, almost 4 times less!
3️⃣ Pesticides: cotton needs a huge amount of pesticides and fertilizers to grow (unless it’s organic cotton). The demand for cotton drives the need to grow faster and faster, which increases the amount of fertilizers used. Hemp is a natural pest repellent, so it doesn’t need any pesticide to grow!
4️⃣ Yield: for the same amount of land, hemp’s productivity is 2 times higher than cotton, which means you will get twice the amount of fabric. Cotton needs twice the amount of land to produce the same amount of fabric.
Source: Slate, Forbes
We know there is a lot of greenwashing out there, and it is hard to know which brands to trust. That’s why we have created our eco-brand directory, where we recommend the eco brands that we have tested and that we like, so it’s easier for you to shop sustainably. (🔗 click here)