Hemp can easily be processed into paper and because of it’s high growth rate (a tree may take two decades to mature where as the hemp plant takes four months), hemp pulp is better suited to be used as paper than wood pulp, whose harvest destroys forest eco-systems that are depended on by many organisms. Hemp paper’s eco-credentials are further promoted by the fact that it does not require chlorine bleach which can be a pollutant. Unfortunately, the cost of hemp pulp paper far exceeds that of wood pulp paper. These costs are largely related to the small scale of farming, antiquated machinery and also the fact that due to it’s once a year harvest, the hemp needs to be stored. In this way it can be seen that if hemp paper is going to be a solution to deforestation for paper (around 25% of the global lumber harvest), then plant investment and research into cheaper storage needs to take place.
It’s also interesting to note that up until the late eighteen hundreds, hemp fibre was used to make most of the World’s paper.