The facts say hemp is better than cotton. Cotton requires large amounts of land and immense quantities of water and pesticides to produce a large, high quality yield. Hemp is stronger, requires less water, grows more densely than cotton (which means it needs less land to produce the same crop) and requires no pesticides at all. Naturally Advanced Technologies Inc. (NAT) of Vancouver, Canada recognized all those benefits, and now uses hemp to make a yarn they call Crailar:
… a yarn with the same warmth and feel of organic cotton, but with characteristics, such as tensile strength, that organic cotton simply can never achieve. As every step of the process can be certified organic, CRAiLAR® Fibers become the first truly sustainable yarn in the apparel industry.
Major companies are taking notice. NAT signed a ten year supply agreement with Hanesbrands Inc. in 2009, and has deals in place with Levi Strauss & Co. and Ashland Inc. NAT is also working to create biofuels from hemp seed oil and producing strains of industrial hemp which can be organically cultivated.
Industrial hemp is different in content, but not appearance from marijuana cannabis. They may look the same, but hemp contains less than 1% THC, and is only useful for a thousand other things besides getting baked and watching Archer. It is nonetheless illegal to grow in the U.S, despite the fact that it’s more useful and environmentally sustainable than cotton, and light years better than inorganic fibers like nylon.
Countries like Canada which have not outlawed industrial vegetables are thus home to companies like NAT, which are proving common sense is good business.
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