The world wants to find sustainable bioplastics and biocomposites for our daily use and hemp-based products seem to give hope.
Many of the widely available materials still contain non-biodegradable or non-sustainable components. Moreover, if recycling is even possible, it often is a very complex process.
Sustainable hemp plastic research
In order to overcome these difficulties, a group of scientists developed an innovative approach. They aimed to create bioplastics using hemp stalk waste, glycerol, xylan (hemicellulose), and citric acid as major ingredients.
As we know, hemp can be a sustainable source for many final products. It is a material that eventually can support the climate change battles. Thus, thanks to its characteristics, hemp contributes to the European Green Deal objectives.
To be able to create cast papers from hemp stalks, the researchers used mechanical methods. They wanted to avoid the need for chemical modifications or pre-treatments. Then they used a mixture of glycerol, xylan, citric acid, and the plasticizer polyethylene glycol (PEG). After thermal crosslinking at 140°C, the produced bioplastics underwent a 48-hour washing treatment to increase water resistance and decrease water absorption.
Can hemp-based bioplastics be useful?
The researchers presented a three-layer laminate as an idea for future usage as an adhesive in bio-based composites to demonstrate the adaptability of their bioplastics. The idea demonstrates the variety of uses that these eco-friendly materials can have across a range of sectors.
This finding offers a big step towards the development of truly sustainable and environmentally friendly bioplastics and biocomposites by utilising bio-based, inexpensive, readily accessible, recycled, or waste components. These materials have the potential to replace traditional plastics. Thus, indirectly hemp can help to create a more sustainable future with further development and optimisation.
Hemp can be a sustainable source of many materials for daily use. That is also the way EIHA promotes hemp.