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Name: Eric J
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Why is it that hemp would be a more suitable replacement for trees in the production of paper products?

I can think of several reasons why hemp might be more suitable than pulp wood in paper production. First and foremost, it is much faster growing, so you could produce more fibre per acre of land (or hectare if your teacher insists on the metric system) over a given period of time. Another reason might be that stands of virgin timber are becoming increasingly rare, so the value of pulp is rising, and species that rely on old growth forest habitats may be threatened with extinction. When it becomes cheaper to grow hemp for fibre than to harvest timber, fiber producers will probably bring pressure to legalize the cultivation of hemp.


One more thing that I feel should be added to the list of responses -- hemp fibers are actually stronger and more durable than wood fibers, and so would also make a pretty durable cloth. The only reason we cannot use it at the moment is because it is basically uncured marijuana, which is not cool to have around.


Yes, there are lots of reasons why hemp may be a better industrial feed stock for paper production that timber. Two more are that hemp is virtually acid- free, which means the paper will last longer, and secondly, it would cause less water pollution because the pulp would not have to be bleached with chlorine, which can cause dioxin pollution. Another option would be to use recycled newspapers and cardboard instead of timber or hemp. The National Organization on the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) can probably provide you with even more reasons why hemp is a useful product.


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