Save the Turtles! Are Hemp Straws the Best Alternative to Plastic?

turtle plastic bag

Hemp, Hemp, Hemp! It is crazy just how quickly industrial hemp is spreading throughout the world. Not only is the growth of industrial hemp enhancing the discussion of marijuana legalization, but it has the potential to alter hundreds of ancillary sectors. From construction materials to new clothing designs, hemp will soon become the number one manufacturing material in the world.

While hemp clothing is nothing new to the market, hemp plastics are spurring significant discussions across the world. In particular, hemp straws are something many consumers are intrigued by for a variety of reasons. Regardless of the product, hemp plastics could be the long-term solution to fixing the addiction our society has to petroleum-based plastics.

The World Wide Plastic Problem

no plastic straws

Plastic pollution is at an all-time high, and its effects on our world are nothing short of disgusting. From sea turtles suffocating on plastic straws to contaminations in the oceans that alter its entire ecosystem, plastic pollution is no joke. Sure, it may seem like the tree huggers are merely throwing out propaganda to spread their agenda, but these numbers don’t lie.

Facts on Plastic Pollution:

  • Every year, 335 million tons of plastics are produced worldwide.
  • 45% of all plastics are produced in the United States.
  • 29% of plastics made in the United States are for product packaging.
  • 60 billion pounds of plastic is discarded into the waste process each year in the United States.
  • 40 to 60 percent of all beach litter is plastic.

While plastic, in general, is a significant problem for our planet, plastic straws are at the forefront of the discussion. Why is this the case? It may be due to the fact that in one year alone, the United States consumed over 500 million plastic straws. Again, the numbers don’t lie. Plastic pollution is a problem for all living things on this Earth, and it’s up to us to find a natural alternative before it’s too late.

Is Hemp the Ideal Alternative to Petroleum-Based Plastics?

Hemp plastics are an ideal alternative considering it is a biodegradable plastic that only takes about three to six months to break down. It is also a self-sustainable and renewable plant that is easy to grow and quick to produce. Not only does industrial hemp help to clean up the soil, but it is known for its large intake of carbon dioxide, which is excellent for our climate. The hemp plant absorbs nearly four times more CO2 than trees. It also grows four to five times faster and doesn’t require an insane amount of upkeep. For these reasons, it is safe to say that hemp is an ideal alternative to plastic straws and much more!

The rise of industrial hemp has led many experts and consumers to question the use of hemp fibers and cellulose as the ideal alternative to most plastics. The potential is there; it’s now a matter of determining just how sustainable hemp-based plastics are and what all can they replace. Even though plant-based plastics are skyrocketing in popularity, they are not quite taking over the plastic market. There are many alternatives to plastics that have the potential of becoming the next best material. While hemp is at the top of the list, it is not widely used in consumer products today. Even finding a hemp straw is somewhat tricky on the marketplace.

One of the hottest, most accessible uses for hemp right now is CBD products. Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychoactive compound found within the hemp plant. While it doesn’t get you high, consumers report it helps with a multitude of aches and pains. If you’re looking for top-quality, hemp-derived CBD products, Gold Care CBD is a great place to start. If you’re local to Colorado, you can check out their shop in Greeley, or their new location opening in Colorado Springs. If you’re looking for CBD online, they conveniently sell their products online, including their CBD gummy bears, salves, and tinctures.

Do Consumers Widely Use Hemp Straws?

hemp growing outside

Even though it all makes perfect sense to begin mass producing hemp straws, it is tough to find a quality hemp straw on the market today. Industrial hemp is quickly spreading throughout the world as a premium manufacturing material, but its cost to produce and misunderstood comparison with marijuana, is slowing the process down. Not to mention, only a few companies have discovered a quality hemp-based plastic formula that meets manufacturing standards. Once the production of industrial hemp meets the demand and drives down the price, it is likely manufacturers will have no choice but to begin using hemp-based plastics.

Other Factors that Keep Hemp Straws off the Market

Finding a hemp straw on the market is not an easy task. While the cost to produce a quality hemp straw is relatively too high, it is also not necessarily the best alternative. Think about it, even though a hemp straw is biodegradable, it still takes months for it to decompose. Plus, if the hemp plastic is not properly manufactured, it can still contain harmful byproducts like coloring or toxic polymers. Until a well-researched and compelling hemp-based plastic is available, hemp straws will not take over as the best alternative to plastic straws. It is still ideal for consumers to find a recyclable and reusable straw.

The Best Straw Alternatives on the Market

steel straws in coffee

Hemp straws are not widely available yet, but there are plenty of other reliable alternatives to plastic straws. In particular, straws that are good for multiple uses are the ideal solution. Think about it; instead of throwing away a plastic straw after every use, consumers now have straws that may last for a lifetime. There are even companies with plant-based straws, metal straws, or glass straws that come with a lifetime warranty. If it breaks, they will send a brand-new straw right to the door! Not only does this cut down on the ridiculously high number of plastic straws in our oceans, but many of these companies use hemp-based packaging to cut down on the use of plastic packaging. It’s efforts like this that slowly push our society into discovering a full-blown solution to our plastic problem.

Paper Straws

Paper straws are becoming a popular alternative to plastic straws, but they still have plenty of environmental issues. For instance, paper straws require trees to be cut down, which is unfortunate for our atmosphere. Paper straws are also single-use straws that don’t provide the best flavor. Nevertheless, it is still a healthy alternative as a short-term solution.

Glass Straws

One of the more prevalent alternatives to plastic straws is a reusable glass straw. Not only does it provide a clean taste, but they are recyclable and last well past a single-use straw. While it does require consumers to carry their own straw at all times, it is drastically better than using plastic straws.

Stainless-Steel Straws

Another popular and logical alternative to a plastic straw is a stainless-steel straw. Similar to a glass straw, a metal straw is recyclable and reusable. Plus, it doesn’t alter the flavor of the drink and is even more durable than a glass straw. However, it is vital to ensure the straw is made of high-quality steel and does not contain excess toxins found in many metals.

Bamboo Straws

Another plant-based plastic alternative is bamboo. Many companies have released a bamboo straw that is an ideal alternative because they are reusable, durable, and biodegradable. While bamboo straws seem like a perfect alternative, some say to cause a woody flavor that alters the drink.

What to Look Out for?

All of the above materials are suitable alternatives to a plastic straw. While each has its pros and cons, they all support environmental change that will better the lives of all living creatures on this Earth. Hemp straws may not be widely available now, but it is only a matter of time before they make their way to the hemp marketplace. Like anything in our world today, change only occurs if it makes sense from a business, economic, and societal stance. Hemp plastics are something many consumers want to see on the marketplace, but it needs to become cost-effective and easy to obtain before businesses accept it as the best natural alternative.

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