We've been told our entire lives that cotton is the most versatile, overall best fibre, yet hemp fibres are actually superior. Cotton and hemp both have a long history in human history. Hemp has been used for thousands of years. It grows all across the world, and ancient civilizations quickly realized how useful it might be. Hemp is a tough and resilient plant. It may be utilized in the building since its stalks are fibrous and thick. Hemp seeds are also quite healthy, which is why many modern people include them in their paleo diets and other diet regimens.
Fibres, garments, ropes, beddings, fishing nets, and other items were all made from it. Cannabis fibres have been used to make paper, and its seeds are a major food source.
Cotton and hemp have a lot in common. Humans have been using both for thousands of years, and both can be used to make textiles. The prohibition of marijuana has resulted in the utilization of hemp is at an all-time low. Cotton was first produced circa 6,000 B.C., according to known data, and it is formed from the seeds of a plant in the mallow family. Cotton is produced in massive quantities all around the world every year.
We'll need to concentrate on a number of factors while comparing the two so that we can identify not just which is better for ourselves but also which is best for the environment since it's critical to look at things holistically. Hemp, on the other hand, has a number of advantages over cotton.
Is Hemp better than cotton for the environment?
Hemp grows densely, so it takes up less room in the garden. Hemp can generate 1500 pounds of fibre per acre, which is three times the quantity produced by cotton in the same area. Cotton cultivation uses about 16 percent of the world's pesticides, but hemp may minimize soil pollution as a bioaccumulator and requires very little to no pesticides to thrive. Getting into contact with pesticides and chemicals used in cotton cultivation can have major health consequences, especially for labourers who work in deplorable circumstances. Here's where we have a definite winner.
Another point of comparison in our study is softness. So, hemp or cotton, which is the softest material? Cotton is undeniably soft, but it is also true that cotton fibres degrade with time, and the more that you wash it, the faster it degrades. Hemp fibres are significantly more resilient than cotton, and instead of degrading with time, they soften. Hemp, unlike cotton, retains its strength when wet and has antibacterial characteristics. It is still soft and would not be deemed unpleasant, despite the fact that it does not start out as soft. Repeated washings do not break down the fibres as rapidly as cotton does. This time, again, hemp comes out on top.
When it comes to water, cotton is once again the great loser. Cotton plants require around 50% more water each season than hemp plants, which can thrive with less water. Cotton is also grown in areas of the world when there is a scarcity of water. Hemp is a hardy, dependable plant that grows rapidly. Not only that, but compared to cotton, hemp produces 200 to 250 percent more fibre on the same area of land. We may already deduce that hemp has triumphed in this battle.
Hemp enriches the soil that it is grown in
Because hemp is a long-lasting rotation crop, the entire crop may be utilized, with the stalk being used for fibre and the leaves and hurds being ploughed back into the soil as fertilizer. This aids in the replenishment of soil fertility, which will aid in the growth of the following round of hemp crops.
Hemp also has a short growth season and a deep root system, allowing for aeration and ongoing soil structure development.
Cotton crops are not friendly to the environment.
Cotton crops in the United States occupy 1% of the country's cropland yet consume 50% of all insecticides. By combining these harmful chemicals with additional fertilizers and pesticides, the soil within the crop as well as the root systems are seriously harmed.
A farmer can continue to cultivate the area, but the quality of the soil will deteriorate with time, resulting in lower-quality traditional cotton.
When it comes to durability, hemp, as you might expect, outlasts cotton. Cotton is a delicate fabric that degrades with time. Although both materials are biodegradable, hemp is significantly stronger and more durable than cotton. The advantages of the cannabis Sativa plant over cotton don't end there. Because hemp is considerably stronger than soft cotton, it appears to be a great material for manufacturing carpets, furniture, ropes, belts, bags, textiles, and so on. The list of things that may be manufactured from hemp is endless. Hemp is also antimicrobial, easy to cultivate, and retains heat better than other materials.
Hemp uses almost half the amount of space than that of cotton
We are lucky to have this miracle crop accessible to us now that industrial hemp has been returned into agriculture as part of the 2018 Farm Bill. When comparing land utilization for hemp farming to cotton agriculture, hemp productivity levels are substantially higher, yielding 2,650 pounds of fibre per acre vs 1,190 pounds of cotton fibre per land. As you can see, hemp is a fast-growing, well-abundant crop that doesn't use up all of the available land.
Cotton is now farmed in more than 70 nations, all of which are dry and arid. The crops are partially rain-fed, depending on the climate or drought, although irrigation is the primary source of water.
Properties of fabric
Hemp fibres are actually superior. Cotton fabric is softer and more pleasant than hemp cloth on the skin. In its natural spun condition, hemp fibre has a rough texture and is prone to fraying. Hemp also has a strong, naturally occurring odour, which some individuals dislike.
Hemp fibres have a huge surface area and are very absorbent of water. This permits the material to dye well and hold its colour better than cotton or linen. Furthermore, they do not lose their form when stretched.
Is Hemp more versatile than cotton when it comes to usage?
Hemp is thought to be utilized in over 20,000 distinct ways at the moment. Hemp is used to make papers, meals, personal care items, fibres, textiles, ropes, and even fuels and construction materials. Hemp can be a suitable replacement to plastic because it takes 80 to 90 days for it to biodegrade entirely. Hemp is a great building material since it's lightweight, waterproof, fireproof, self-insulating, and pest-resistant, whereas cotton is recognized for its flexibility; we all know it's used to make T-shirts, jeans, and socks, but it's also used to make fishing nets, coffee filters, and other things.
Cotton is also used to make curtains, bandages, swabs, banknotes, cotton buds, and x-rays, among other things. So, who came out on top in this fight: hemp or cotton? We'll let you make your own assessment. However, please inform us in the comments area.
Cotton has served us well for decades, even when industrial hemp was prohibited to cultivate in the United States. This isn't to suggest that cotton, even organic cotton, isn't a nice material; it just isn't as excellent as hemp in every way. In India's entrepreneurial scene, hemp has made waves. It's become India's face of sustainability, and properly so.
As you can see in this hemp vs. cotton comparison, hemp is obviously the better option. If you haven't already done so, consider hemp the next time you go shopping. Indeed, a number of hemp clothing manufacturers are building a name for themselves in the fashion sector, so it should be a simple transition. Starting with a pair of hemp shorts, in our opinion, is a good place to start.
Are you ready to convert to hemp fibres now that you've heard all sides?