Environmental Impact

Environmental Impact

Published in 2005 by the Stockholm Environment Institute, the 39-page “Ecological Footprint and Water Analysis of Cotton, Hemp and Polyester” examined the environmental impact of the three textiles. The study found that producing polyester requires up to 10 times more energy output (measured in megajoules) and emits significantly more carbon dioxide (CO2) than cotton and hemp. However, polyester requires much less land area for cultivation, whereas cotton requires the most. As natural fibers, both hemp and cotton cultivation have water requirements, and the study found that each kilogram of cotton (kilogram = about 2.2 pounds) requires 9,758 kilograms of water use (kilogram = a liter in water volume), while each kilogram of hemp requires between 2,401 and 3,401 kilograms of water. (And drought-stricken California is the sixth-largest U.S. cotton producer.) In terms of total Ecological Footprint, cotton represented “the higher end,” polyester the “middle ground” and hemp “the lowest… of the three textiles.” Summarizing the results, the researchers noted, “These results highlight that the cotton system… is the least productive,” while “the overall best performer in the Ecological Footprint context is ‘Traditional Organic Hemp.’”  

Comprehensive Uses

Who is Old Hemp?

Hemp in History

What is Hemp?

The AMA vs. Anslinger

Cannabis in the Christmas Cave

The History, Benefits and Roadblocks to Using Hemp

Insecticides and Pesticides

Nixon vs. Shafer Commission

Nixon vs. Lennon

Prohibition’s Racist Roots

Richard Nixon's Drug War

Cannabis and the CSA

The Substance Schedules

Scheduling Conflicts