U.S. could use hemp as sustainable resource

by Ethan Gaebel
The petroleum industry is booming. The world thrives on plastic and is powered by gas. But oil is a finite resource — America will run out of it and will need to have something to replace it with before it is depleted. The country needs oil for more than powering cars. Petroleum is essential to creating plastic items, such as computer keys and plastic outlet covers. And there is a renewable way for the country to get all of the plastic society demands — while cleaning the air petroleum has dirtied with hemp.
Hemp is a species of cannabis that does not contain any of the psychoactive chemicals that illicit species of cannabis contain, but its production was made illegal at the same time as marijuana.
But how is cannabis going to replace petroleum? It can be processed to make plastics. The Canadian company Motive Industries is testing a car that has a body made out of a bio-composite plastic made mostly from hemp. The car should be available for sale near the end of this year.
Motive’s president even addressed the fact that the company is getting a leg up on America by telling the CBC, “it’s illegal to grow it in the United States, so it actually gives Canada a bit of a market advantage,” which is very true. While the Canadians get to perfect this bio-composite that can be grown in massive amounts, American engineers are left to work with petroleum plastic, which will eventually no longer be available.
The best part about hemp plastic is, unlike petroleum, its bio-composite materials are biodegradable. BMW has is taking advantage of this by trying to find a way to make more recyclable cars using hemp plastic. In 2006, researchers found that 11.7 percent of total waste is plastic, meaning more than 10 percent of garbage in the world will never decompose. Sure, people can collect bottles and recycle them into benches, pretending they are solving the problem. But they can also just use hemp to make plastic and let the Earth recycle it.
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