Plastic is often used for packaging due to its low cost and lightweight nature. However, it is also harmful to the environment and potentially toxic, making it an undesirable choice for socially responsible companies. To address this problem, researchers at Western University have collaborated with industry partner CTK Bio Canada to develop a sustainable substitute for plastic packaging using hemp.
Hemp is a sustainable crop that requires minimal resources to grow and is a byproduct of Canada's cannabis industry. It has a fibrous structure that makes it strong and malleable, making it an ideal material for packaging. The researchers used ground hemp stalk powder as filler during the production of packaging to create a biomaterial that exhibits degradability.
While the biomaterial is currently more expensive to produce than plastic, companies are working to optimize and reduce costs. The study's results validate the potential of hemp-based biomaterial as a plastic alternative and open the door for future industry collaborations and partnerships. The findings have been published in the Journal of Polymer Science.
Source: University of Western Ontario