10 Ways Hemp is Better for the Earth

10 Ways Hemp is Better for the Earth

With the plethora of fabrics, both natural and synthetic, available to fashion brands these days, why did THTC decide to champion hemp as an answer to the industry’s problems? 

In a world of microplastics and polyester, the need for more eco-friendly textiles has become more important than ever. 

When you buy hemp clothing, you’re supporting a production process that is far less impactful than pretty much all its alternatives. As each year passes, and supply chains become more diverse and advanced - the way hemp fashion is created remains the most environmentally conscious way to create textiles and finished garments. 

As a biofiber, hemp is natural and biodegradable. This means when a hemp THTC shirt eventually ends up in a landfill (as 73% of clothing produced across the world inevitably does), it degrades much faster than other so-called natural fabrics. Polyester, Acrylic, Nylon, Spandex and Acetate are all made from nonrenewable fossil fuels. The production of these synthetic fabrics is emission intensive and environmentally degrading.  

Synthetic fibres make up 63% of all materials used in fabric production. 

It’s no secret that synthetic clothing is filling landfills and polluting oceans, so introducing hemp into fashion production lines is essential to redefining the whole industry.

At THTC we love hemp for a million reasons, but these ten are why the earth loves hemp fashion. 

#1 Hemp can be Grown without the use of Pesticides 

Hemp crops need far less fungicides, herbicides and pesticides to thrive, and hemp is often grown without the use of any agrichemicals at all. These chemicals, which are rife in cotton production, can harm other crops, poison the soil and kill bees and other wildlife. Roughly 0.95 percent of the total cotton harvest in 2019/20 was organic. Over 229,000 farmers are estimated to be involved in organic cotton farming (source: Common Objective). 

Hemp has inherently anti-bacterial properties (as does bamboo), and it is naturally pest resistant. 

In addition, cotton cultivation and its need for chemicals threaten more than just the crop, but nearby plantations as well. Globally, this crop covers just 2.4% of the world’s cultivated land but uses 6% of the world’s pesticides (and 16% of insecticides), more than any other single major crop.

If we look beyond the environmental impact, one needs to consider the effect all these pesticides have, not only on the health of the cotton picking farmers but from the knock on effect of chemical run-off into nearby rivers and lakes. 

#2 Hemp Requires Much Less Water than Cotton

All plants need water to grow, and this means that much of the earth’s water is used in agriculture. 

It takes on average 10,000-20,000 litres of water to cultivate just one kilogram of raw cotton depending on where it is grown. 

Meanwhile, according to the Stockholm Environment Institute, an estimated 300-500 litres of water would produce the same yield of hemp, of which 30% can be used to turn into clothing fibres. The excessive use of water used to grow cotton has, unsurprisingly, led to droughts all across the globe, many of which have experienced desertification from cotton farming. 

Put it this way, for every 20 litres of water a cotton plant needs, hemp requires about 1 litre. 

#3 Hemp Loves Eating C02

Hemp uses 80% less energy to grow when compared to conventional cotton and absorbs four times more CO2 than trees. Yep, you read that right. For a tonne of hemp produced, 1.63 tonnes of carbon is sequestered.

This excellent ratio is why hemp has the lowest ecological footprint of any textile. Just one acre of hemp absorbs around 6 tons of CO2 in one season, which equates to more than the annual CO2 emissions of the average person. 

#4 Hemp Wears in. Not Out. 

Hemp wears in not out” is something we love saying on THTC, and it’s not just because it sounds cool. It’s because it’s true! 

The more hemp is worn, the softer it becomes. Hemp material thrives on regular use, withstanding and even benefiting from being washed in the laundry. Hemp retains its shape much better than other fibres, this means your hemp clothing won’t shrink or stretch out of shape over time.⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣

This durability also helps it withstand machine washing, enduring less fabric degradation than lesser fabrics. Due to hemp’s long bast fibres, it is 3-4 times more durable than standard cotton. 

The beauty of a hemp shirt is that it looks cooler the longer you have it. This means you’re not going to throw it any time soon. We regularly meet our customers at events who are wearing THTC t-shirts that are 15-20 years old! 

#5 Hemp is Better for the Soil 

Hemp is also an answer to soil pollution.

The agricultural practices involved in textile farming often involve extracting nutrients from the soil without allowing the time for it to replenish itself. This threatens the health and productivity of a crop and risks making land barren and obsolete. Hemp naturally isolates carbon within soil, leaving the soil in a better condition than it was when the hemp was planted!

The hemp plant leaves nutrients in the soil, meaning healthier land that is slower to erode and can then be used to grow food immediately after a hemp harvest. Hemp is an annual grower, getting from seed to stem in just 4 months. This speed makes it an ideal crop for rotation, and as it leaves the soil healthy, the farmer does not need to do anything but replant his or her next crop.  

#6 Hemp Can Help Slow Deforestation 

It is feared that at the current rate of deforestation, within 100 years there may be no more ancient rainforest left. Between 2015 and 2020, the rate of deforestation was estimated at 10 million hectares per year, down from 16 million hectares per year in the 1990s. The area of primary forest worldwide has decreased by over 80 million hectares since 1990. 

This means an area of rainforest the size of 30 football pitches is lost every single minute! 

The good news is there’s a multitude of ways that we, as a society, can counter this sickening statistic, and one of those ways may be the growing of more hemp.

The fact that hemp has such a vast range of bi-products means it has the potential not only to make a significant impact on the textile industry, but it can also replace much of the paper currently produced from timber. 

Hemp grows in many different types of soils and climates,and it thrives in small spaces. This means less land to grow without sacrificing profit. Hemp can produce four times as much pulp for paper as timber from trees, and can be ready for fiber harvest in as little as 60 days. In comparison, trees can take anywhere from 10 to 20 years to grow before harvesting. 

#7 Zero Wastage

Hemp is the most useful and diverse crop that can be grown. The seeds are high in fiber, protein and omega-3 fats which makes them an excellent food source for humans and other animals. Additionally, the stalks are used for CBD production. The benefits of CBD are vast, with the global CBD market projected to hit £80 billion by 2026.

No part of a hemp plant should be wasted. 

#8 Hemp Clothes are Easier to Clean

Laundering hemp clothing is low-impact, meaning you can wash your hemp tees, socks, boxers and hoodies on a delicate cycle using just cold water which of course requires less electricity. As hemp is a natural fabric, it should not be tumble dried but instead should be dried in the shade, out of direct sunlight. Tumble drying hemp may, as with wool, lead to fabric shrinkage. 

#9 Hemp Material is Breathable 

An abstract point, but hear us out. If you’re wearing a hemp shirt on a hot day you’d be cooler (in terms of your temperature, as well as general coolness). IT also keeps you warm in cold temperatures and it is hypoallergenic, or antibacterial, meaning it’s kind on most skin types and won’t contain irritants such as bacteria, dust mites, or fungi. Hemp fabric clothing is naturally resistant to bacteria, mold, and parasites.

Wearing hemp on a hot day may reduce the need to switch the fan on, reducing your electricity consumption. 


#10 Hemp is Recyclable 

Hemp is compostable, embracing a circular ecosystem. When a THTC piece of clothing has reached the end of its lifecycle, recycle it! This, compared to synthetic fabrics which can take over 100 years to break down and release noxious fumes when incinerated. You can literally throw hemp fabrics into your composting bin and return them to the earth. 

Go Hemp or Go Home

Obviously we’re a hemp clothing fashion brand, so, of course we’re going to be pro-hemp production. But it’s more than just THTC as a business. Hemp production does less damage to the earth than its competitors, it lasts longer, it’s bi-products are practically limitless and that’s why we love it. 

Once you own your own hemp clothing, we think you will too. 

similar reads