From March 2004, jewel cases manufactured from the hemp plant will be available.
It is clear that the primary benefits will be environmental; hemp’s biodegradable status makes it a far more desirable material for production when compared with the billion or so CD trays currently made that have no environmentally friendly means of disposal.
The hemp plant is a viable alternative resource in many areas such as paper and plastics production; an acre of hemp produces as much pulp as four acres of trees and while it can take twenty years to once again grow trees on the same land, hemp can be grown and harvested in 90 days, twice a year. In our current climate of deforestation and global warming, such sustainability gives hemp a distinct advantage over products in many markets.
While it may until recently have been the preserve of a more classically environmentally conscious consumer, in recent years such things as the free press’ contribution towards a greater awareness of hemp’s manufacturing potential have helped lead it once more to the cusp of being a major industry; amongst others, Giorgio Armani, Mercedes and the Body Shop are just a few who currently use hemp-produced material in several of their products and it is likely that this pattern is to continue in many industries.
As a plant which can be grown and harvested year after year, hemp’s potential as a cash crop is on a scale of industries as vast as those of tea and coffee; such a widespread availability will (in addition to being environmentally desirable) result in hemp being a far more economical way to produce such products as mobile phone cases, computer cases, paper, clothing, jewel cases and so on.
It should also be recognised that hemp products are noted for their strength and durability (in the Second World War American farmers were ordered to grow hemp as part of the war effort where it was used to make parachutes, rope and many other essential materials). Hemp jewel cases have an added advantage over current petro-chemically produced ones in that logos can be embossed on them, providing the ability to further individualise the product in question, whatever it may be.
Now that the stranglehold of big business protecting its own interests is being loosened, hemp is ready to take its place as one of the twenty-first century’s biggest success stories.
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