A new type of paper is revolutionizing commercial printing
Maren Krings and Hahnemühle’s joint project came about when the environmental activist was writing a book about industrial hemp. Her research led her to the German paper manufacturer, which agreed to produce letterpress paper from hemp fiber instead of from trees. Hahnemühle is one of the first to produce commercially viable hemp paper. Maren’s book is now a reference guide for those interested in the history of industrial hemp as well as its modern uses.
Hemp is a versatile material for book publishing. Although paper is one of the most widely used resources, there are still ways to improve it. As the world continues to move towards digitalization, paper is still a widely used product and is not going to disappear any time soon. Compared to wood pulp, hemp pulp has a fiber four to five times longer. As a result, this produces paper that is much stronger than paper made from trees.
However, the paper industry has traditionally used machines and tools to convert wood pulp into paper, which do not work as well with hemp fiber.
Hemp is one of the most versatile plants on earth, making it a sustainable and environmentally friendly crop for paper production. Hemp produces four to five times more biomass per acre than forests, making it an ideal crop to stop forest clearing.
It is also much more environmentally friendly and sustainable for several reasons:
- It consumes less water than other crops.
- It can be used specifically to halt climate change and stop soil pollution. One hectare of hemp absorbs between 9 and 15 metric tons of carbon dioxide.
- It grows as fast as bamboo, making it one of the fastest growing crops on the planet.
As laws in Europe become more unified, interest will grow in making hemp products that go far beyond paper. This includes everything from fuel to clothing, bioplastics, and insulation.