We are very excited to launch a brand new product for beve, hemp gift cord! You may know that I majored in Fashion Design in college, but you might not know that I especially loved my textile and textile design courses. You can see my (awesome) teacher's work here. Before my initial Textiles course, I had only used hemp for making friendship bracelets. I had never seen it used for clothing and was unaware of its environmental properties. When I finished with the the course, I was quite smitten with the amazing fiber.
Hemp is a natural and sustainable fiber, meaning it comes from a plant and it, "the demands placed on the environment [from its production] can be met without reducing its capacity to allow all people to live well, now and in the future." In providing context for hemp's environmental attributes, I often compare it to cotton as cotton is the most popular natural fiber. This comparison makes it easy to see how much difference we can make by using hemp instead.
The hemp plant has deep tap roots allowing it access groundwater for its irrigation. In a conservative statement, hemp uses half as much water as cotton, though can be grown with even less. Cotton requires over 5,000 gallons of water to produce enough fiber to make one t-shirt and one pair of jeans. An additional benefit of not requiring extensive irrigation is that hemp can be grown in a wider range of regions more easily.
HERBICIDES & PESTICIDES
Hemp grows very densely, effectively choking out weeds which other crops, such as cotton, utilize herbicides to prevent. Hemp also does not need pesticides as it is naturally fungus and insect repellant (and it's anti-microbial!). Herbicides and pesticides can have negative repercussions for the environment at large, from damaging honey bee populations to creating pesticide-resistant weeds, as well as human health issues from exposure to these chemicals as many health issues have been linked to their use. Comparatively, cotton, which accounts for 2.4% of crops grown on Earth uses large quantities of herbicides and accounts for 11% of insecticides and 24% of pesticides sales worldwide.
Hemp is easy to grow due to its lower water usage and pest and weed resistance, but it also grows quickly and very densely. This density produces about 2.5 times as much fiber per acre than cotton.requiring half as much water as cotton to grow. It also grows more densely than cotton, yielding about 2.5x as much fiber per acre as cotton. The hemp plant also has hundreds of uses for various parts of the plant, allowing for minimal wasted plant material. And to top it all off, you've likely heard about the need for crop rotation due to nutrients being leached from soil when the same crop is planted over and over. Not only does hemp not do this (as its fallen leaves actually add nutrients to the soil), hemp can detoxify polluted soil! This process, called phytoremediation, has even been utilized at the Chernobyl site where hemp has been considered quite successful at "eating" radiation. I don't know about you, but I think this is awesome!
And for day to day use of hemp products, it's worthwhile to note that, as mentioned earlier, hemp is naturally anti-microbial, so it doesn't mildew. It's also a very strong fiber that gets even stronger when it's wet (that's why hemp was used for fishing ropes before nylon came along). I also just learned that hemp blocks about 50% more UV rays than cotton too, even when blended with other fibers up to 50%! This quality also reduces hemp fading from sun exposure.
As you can see, I'm pretty smitten with hemp. I have been wanting to utilize this fiber for some time now and I am so excited to finally be able to with our hemp gift cord! In addition to the environmental benefits of hemp, we also designed our product so you can use a single strand of it on your gifts and still have your adornment 'pop'! No more wrapping four strands of baker's twine around your gift to make it visible! We also left it unpolished, so it's quite soft and easy to handle. (Most craft hemp is 'polished' with potato starch.) And to make it impossible to resist, it is packed in a cute, self-dispensing box. This means that your gift cord stays nice and neat in its box where the coil pulls from the inside (so it stays put till the very end!) and does not end up under the couch being batted at by your cat. Not that that has ever happened to me ;) While it was developed as a gift cord, it's cute and tough enough to be used for a multitude of craft and household uses. We hope you love it as much as we do!