Running a business that prioritizes sustainability isn’t always easy. So many everyday items we use leave behind a carbon footprint in addition to waste, both of which harm our environment. Carbon offsetting programs are the latest trend to remedy this. While industries work to have cleaner processes, they can offset the carbon they release into the environment. This gets done in partnership with organizations that help clean the air we breathe.
This give-and-take, over the long term, can make a difference in the pollution we put into the atmosphere. But, what if you could grow a product that’s already environmentally friendly?
Plants and CO2 absorption
All plant life absorbs carbon dioxide, but at different rates. They’re the opposite of people. We take in oxygen to breathe and expel CO2. Plants take in CO2 and expel O2. For this reason, growing more plants, and more trees, can help clean the air. The catch is having enough trees and plants, growing for long enough, to make a contribution. This is hard to accomplish, but every little bit makes a difference.
Many carbon offsetting projects are currently linked to planting more trees. Yet, hemp has the ability to make a substantial contribution in cleaning up our air.
Hemp and carbon offsetting
Hemp can absorb 10 tons of CO2 per acre. This is more than any forest or commercial crop. Hemp is the ideal carbon sink. What makes hemp’s relationship to CO2 even more unique is that the carbon dioxide bonds to the plant. It never leaves. Not only that, but hemp’s ability to grow in nutrient-poor soil means you can plant it almost anywhere. Used in a carbon offsetting strategy, we could, in theory, plant enough hemp around the world to help us have significantly cleaner air. It could be a great way to offset carbon emissions while still having a usable product. Replanting after each harvest would mean there’s always enough hemp growing to maintain its mission of reducing our carbon footprint.
Trees vs hemp
While growing hemp is now legal in the US, the stigma the plant carries may make it a tougher sell when it comes to carbon offsetting. Right now, trees are in the forefront in addition to buying carbon credits and a few other options. However, when you look at the numbers, there’s no contest between trees and hemp. One definitely works harder and faster to pull CO2 out of the air.
And the winner is…
- Hemp is less expensive to plant. One crop can go into the ground for a lot less than planting a forest of trees.
- Hemp grows quicker. It reaches its carbon sequestering potential in less than a year. Industrialized hemp can reach heights of 13 feet in only 100 days. It would take a tree years to get that tall.
- Products made by hemp can replace those that continue to leave behind damaging waste. This promotes biodiversity since hemp-derived products are biodegradable and non-toxic. Hemp can replace certain plastics for everyday use. It can also do more within the textile industry.
- Hemp reinvigorates soil. Its long taproot not only accesses water deep within the soil, but as it grows, it aerates.
Trees are slow growers who absorb less CO2 per plant than hemp. They also shouldn’t get cut down since replacing a fully-grown tree with a seedling starts the process of slow growth all over again.
Hemp crops are meant for harvest and conversion into useful products. It’s easy to replant the crop and quickly grow a new batch of carbon-loving plants.
Get involved in hemp and save the world
While that’s a little overstated, it’s not untrue that growing hemp can help make a significant contribution, one day, to carbon offsetting efforts. For right now, there’s not enough being grown to make a huge impact, but each plant does play a part in reducing our overall carbon footprint. Even if you’re growing hemp for purely profitable reasons, being a hemp farmer has advantages way beyond the bottom line.
To learn more about the right tools you need to become a successful hemp farmer, consider partnering with Arbor Vita8. Our Partner Farmers get access to our complete seed-to-sale array of services. Not only that, our expert staff is there to support you every step of the way. From planting to harvest, drying to processing, let us be your partner. Contact Arbor Vita8 today to learn more.