Hemp vs Cotton: Which One’s The Freshest Material?

Hemp vs Cotton: Which One's The Freshest Material?

Yo, what up, it’s your boy Dan here to talk about two of the flyest textiles out there: hemp and cotton. Now, I know most of y’all are rocking clothes made of cotton, but let me tell you, hemp is where it’s at. So, let’s take a deep dive into their history and compare these two materials to see which one’s the real boss.

First things first, hemp has been around for over 10,000 years. It was used to make all kinds of dope stuff in Ancient China and Mesopotamia – rope, sailcloth, and even paper. The medicinal properties of the hemp plant have been known since 2700 BCE. Cotton is no slouch though; bolts of the stuff have been found in the Americas dating back to 7000 BCE. By 800 AD, Arab merchants introduced cotton to Europe.

Back in the day, hemp was the king. It was legally mandatory for North American farmers to grow hemp in the 1600s because it was used for so many things – textiles, rope, and oil. But then, in 1793, Massachusetts’ Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin. This machine allowed cotton seeds to be separated from the fibres ten times faster than by hand and made cotton production skyrocket. By the early 1800s, cotton was king.

But let’s get down to what really matters – which one is better? Let’s break it down.

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First up is land use. Hemp can produce the same amount of material as cotton on half the amount of land. In a world where land is scarce, efficient crops are crucial.

Next is water use. Cotton needs 9.7 litres of water to grow 1kg of fibre while hemp only needs 2.1. Some areas of the world are experiencing water shortages or even desertification from cotton cultivation, so switching to hemp could be a major win for preserving our freshwater resources.

When it comes to pesticide use, hemp wins again. The plant acts as a natural pesticide to insects, nematodes, mites, and weeds and requires less treatment than cotton. Plus, since hemp only needs half the land as cotton for the same amount of product, there’s even less need for pesticides.

Moving on to damage to soil, hemp is king once again. Hemp can be grown in the same soil for 14 years without doing much damage to the land. Plus, by allowing hemp to dry in the fields, up to 60% of its nutrients can be returned to the soil. Meanwhile, cotton devastates soil and can damage surrounding ecosystems with high pesticide use.

But what about consumer experience? Cotton may be softer than hemp right out of the gate, but hemp gets softer with use too and is by no means rough. Plus, hemp is more durable than cotton and doesn’t break down as quickly with washing. Both materials are breathable and effective at pulling moisture away from the body while dispelling odours effectively. Hemp even has antimicrobial and antibacterial properties that make it resistant to mold and mildew.

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Lastly, let’s talk about CO₂ sequestration. Both cotton and hemp are effective at sequestering CO₂ with carbon comprising 40% of cotton’s dry weight and 44% of the dry weight of hemp stems. But since hemp has a wider variety of applications than cotton – construction, oils, upholstery, rope, paper – putting it to greater use could be a high-leverage way to fight climate change.

So there you have it – after examining all these factors, it’s clear that hemp is the superior material. It’s more efficient and way better for the environment than cotton while being just as useful for consumers. It’s time we start giving hemp its due props instead of favouring cotton like history has done for too long.

Fortunately, things are starting to look up for hemp again after being outlawed in the US Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 (which is total BS since it contains less than 0.3% THC). The 2018 US Farm Bill has decriminalised hemp and projected annual growth for the industry through 2025 is at a solid 14%. So get ready to switch out those cotton threads for some fresh new hemp gear because this crop is going places!

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