You are here
Home > News > Hemp Paper Could Be the Future of Printing

Hemp Paper Could Be the Future of Printing

One of the world’s first economically viable hemp papers was produced by a joint effort to create tree-free, commercial-printable letterpress paper. Maren Krings (a photographer and activist for the environment) was responsible for the project. She was also writing a book about industrial hemp. Her research led her to a German paper manufacturer called Hahnemühle. 

Her new book includes details about the development and success of hemp paper, as well as how it is now available to other people. H is for HempMaren also wrote this book during a five year journey across the globe.

This book serves as a guidebook for anyone interested in industrial hemp’s history and its current uses.

Hahnemühle is now offering its new hemp paper for both offset and high-speed inkject printing and as a viable alternative to the more expensive tree-based products still used widely in the book publishing industry.

The manufacturer isn’t the only one offering hemp paper, not even in Germany. Gmund also makes similar paper products but has not been able to promote their products as well.

Hemp Paper’s Benefits

While the world continues on a steady path to digitalization, paper is still a widely used commodity—and far from “just” book publishing. Hemp fiber is more durable than wood and has a four- to five times greater amount of fiber. Paper made from hemp fiber is stronger than paper made with trees. The paper industry used traditional machines and tools for turning wood pulp into paper, which are not as effective with hemp fiber.

Because industrial hemp is still in its infant stages and hemp paper is therefore more expensive than the wood-based alternatives, A field of hemp can produce four to five times the paper of a forest. Hemp is the most prolific domestic crop in terms of biomass production.

Because hemp eliminates all weeds naturally, it requires fewer herbicides.

Paper-making is only possible with the male hemp plant. The male hemp plant can only be used to make paper.

A New Focus on Industrial Hemp

There is increasing interest to make hemp products that go beyond the boundaries of paper as European laws become more uniform. It includes all things from clothing to fuel, insulation to bioplastics.

One of the most compelling reasons for turning to the plant for these uses—beyond food and medication—is that industrial hemp offers multiple benefits over more “traditional” materials, including not only being less polluting, but also more environmentally friendly.

Hemp is more water-efficient than most other crops. You can use hemp to eliminate soil and air pollution. One hectare of hemp sequesters between 9-15 metric tons of CO2—which is similar to the amount sequestered by a young forest of the same size. Hemp is much more prolific than hemp. Hemp grows at the same rate as bamboo and is one of the most prolific crops.

There will be many hemp-based products in a world where there is a shortage of new energy resources. Hemp products are expected to become more widely available and to have a greater market share than conventional ones.

According to the European Commission data, hemp cultivation has increased significantly in recent years. In fact, hemp cultivation has increased in size from 19970 hectares (2015 to 2019) to 34,960. France is the EU’s largest hemp producer, with more than 70% of all the crop. Netherlands ranks second at 10%. Austria comes in at third place with 4%.

Brussels is home to the European Industrial Hemp Association (or EIHA), which acts as a lobbying organization for the entire region at EU level.