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Top 10 Uses for Hemp Paper

Posted on March 5, 2014

Much of hemp paper’s market is specialty fibers, which is considered a stable, high-priced niche market. There are about one dozen mini-mills globally, mostly in Asia and the European Union, that produce an estimated 120,000 tons of hemp paper a year.

Cigarette Paper

Pure Hemp Rolling Papers

This is the #1 use by volume for hemp fiber in Europe. Hemp is used due to its fiber characteristics, which allow for resilience, by adding tear strength to especially thin papers. According to think tank the nova institute the EU produced between 22,500 — 28,500 tons of hemp-base cigarette paper at the turn of the millennium. Consumption of tobacco has declined considerably in recent years within developed nations. However, there is an ever growing market for smoking papers, especially in developing nations.

Bible Paper

There’s quite a fine tradition of using hemp paper in Bible publishing. After all, the Gutenberg Bible, almost six hundred years old, was the first major book printed on moveable type. Printed on hemp paper, 48 copies are known to exist today, and some in remarkably good condition. Modern Bible paper needs to be thin, lightweight and non-coated. Papers need to be bright, though with no glaring as to be easy on the eyes for reading. Low linting (e.g. the fibers do not detach from each other and clump) is another bonus when dealing with densely inked pages.

Stationary

Greenfield Paper Company sample kit

10-15 years ago, several small (and larger) paper companies in North America sold hemp content paper. At one point (2002), office supply superstore Staples marketed a recycled printing paper with hemp content. However, by 2006 this product had been discontinued. Both Living Tree Paper and Greenfield Paper Company continue to market a mix of blended hemp paper products, including stationary. Using hemp content paper makes a statement, and is an excellent choice for wedding invitations or business cards.

Archival Paper

The finest archival papers are not made from tree pulp. Hemp paper preserves itself very well. Tree-based papers have both low acidity and lignin content and so avoid how tree-based papers seem to quickly yellow and become brittle.

Art Papers

Greenfield Paper Company Art Paper

Hemp paper still makes for a fine variety of art papers, which is rather appropriate when you consider that the word canvas is derived from the word cannabis. Heavyweight and durable, hemp fibers makes for a very strong, yet soft canvas. Hemp’s durability compares with the finest linen used for the same purposes, and is usually sold off white and un-primed. Acid-free processing is used to produce these paper due to the low lignin content. Hemp papers make a fine long-lasting medium for prints and posters of value.

Filter Paper

Things such as coffee filters, oil filters, and vacuum cleaner bags, for example. Some paper uses need to be permeable and still maintain their integrity. Filter papers are made of very small filaments, about 20 micrometers long, that allow liquids to pass through and solids to be trapped. Paper filters also absorb compounds that metal screen filters cannot. They are healthier and cleaner.

Tea Bags

Tea Bags began as hand sewn fabric sacks and evolved to become paper based. Like other filters, tea bags need to be porous and maintain integrity when wet. Tea bags are usually made from blends, including wood fibers, natural fibers like hemp and sometimes plastic polymers. Re-useable, easy to clean, self-fill cloth hemp tea bags are available.

Bank Notes

Hemp fibers have traditionally been used to add strength to paper money, which has to hold up to frequent handling, folding, and casual movement from hand to hand. The average life of a banknote is two-three years. More countries are switching to novel polymers these days in order to better incorporate novel security features, while other nations are experimenting with hybrid paper-polymer fibers for their currency.

Hygiene Products

Hemp papers high tear and break resistance properties are useful in this specialty use. High absorption, antibacterial properties, and hypo-allergenic characteristics make hemp fibers very useful and non-irritating to sensitive parts of the body.

Blending

Reuse and recycle! Hemp fibers add strength to tree pulp and are very useful in recycling scenarios. A conventional metric is that wood fibers alone can only be recycled 4 times, while hemp fibers help extend the recyclability lifespan, up to 8-12 times.

Related Articles

Hemp: Specialty Crop for the Paper Industry

Market Analysis for Hemp Fiber as a Feed Stock for Papermaking

About the Author

is a Canadian writer who has been covering the growing hemp industry on a professional basis since 1997. He has contributed to numerous farm and nonfarm publications regarding the many aspects of industrial hemp. In 1999, he started the Hemp Commerce & Farming Report, later renamed The Hemp Report, as an online magazine to serve and promote the North American Hemp Industry.