The new substitutes for plastic: hemp, flax and coconut

The new substitutes for plastic: hemp, flax and coconut

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The global trend is to return to natural materials that will replace plastic with vegetable fibers, such as flax, hemp or coconut.

Some of these materials are already used to line the interior of cars and planes, in snowboards, in sustainable cutlery and in dollar bills, for example.

Experts in the field affirm that petroleum-derived plastics can be replaced by more sustainable alternatives with the reputation of “green industry”, which seeks substitutes in plants such as flax, hemp and coconut fiber to replace polluting materials that are use in everyday life.

France, an example

In France, a ban on the use of single-use plastic tableware has already been decreed as of 2020. As of that year, only tableware containing a minimum of biological or compostable materials such as corn starches, potato starches will be allowed. , bamboo or fibers and celluloses.

The replacement of plastic is a great challenge worldwide since the material comes from non-renewable resources and is highly polluting as it is not biodegradable.

Experts estimate that there are already 270,000 metric tons of waste in the world's oceans, which would be the equivalent of the way one plastic bottle after another would take from here to the Moon and back twice, according to the 5 Gyres Institute. .

The consequences of plastic

In addition to serious environmental damage, plastics can affect human health, as some industrial chemicals contain substances that can affect hormone production and metabolism.

On the contrary, vegetable fibers offer advantages already during the production chain, because the plants remove carbon dioxide (CO2).

Five times less energy is used to produce a kilo of flax than to produce the same amount of fiberglass, and furthermore, flax fiber weighs half as much as fiberglass.

According to experts, among the industries that can benefit the most from these advances, the automotive sector stands out, which needs high-quality materials, and others such as architecture or decoration.

At the moment, in Europe the linen industry is leading the way in terms of development. The entire production chain from producers to manufacturing already works.

Video: Bringing it Home. Full Hemp Documentary (May 2022).


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