By Carlos Jimenez Castrillo - International Relations degree student

Sixty-five years after plastic ascending into becoming a global leader product and being a mass-produced material, plastic reached into a critical and dangerous spot. Just in 2015, the annual production of plastic reached 381 million tonnes (Ritchie, 2018). To understand this number into context, it is around the equivalent to the mass of two-thirds of the world population. This explains how the high production of plastic could also destroy our way of life. This issue surrounds our minds and makes us think: what other alternatives can there be? One alternative that is cheap, mass-produced, ecological, biodegradable, and useful for most of the activities where plastic is used. But is this possible? If there is a better way, why aren’t people using it? What does it take to make an alternative of plastic a good and viable solution?

Well, we may have already found the solution. There is an alternative product that has been deeply researched that fitted most of these criteria in a massive and growing market of production waste, the product is based on a very controversial market that has a projection of $73.6 billion by 2027. So, you may ask, what is this mysterious product that can save us from drowning in plastic? This product is general “waste” of the cannabis and legal marijuana derivative industry, and it is a huge opportunity to skyrocket alternatives based on the growth of other giant markets. These factors will help the mass adoption and it is easier to implement than other alternatives. This product is called “Hemp”.

What is hemp? Hemp fibers are primarily used for textiles, paper, building materials, and other industrial products. Raw materials such as hurds, or shives, are short woody fibers typically found inside the stalk. They’re used for making bedding materials, absorbents, particleboard, ceiling panels, compost, and other industrial products (Weed Maps, n.d.).

Hemp is one of the biggest alternatives for plastic-based on the possibility of being massed adopted, hemp is legal to grow in the USA and other countries. It is known that we use normal plastic for many medical products, hemp is also a great alternative for the medical industry. From hemp, you can extract CBD oil legally to sell into the mass consumers as a Hemp-based product instead of a Cannabis-based product. The medicinal benefits make it a huge product opportunity to make and produce medicine with CBD oils to treat anxiety, muscular pain, plus many mental diseases. This opportunity is significant for global markets that have not legalized marijuana, and all of these features make hemp the best alternative for plastic use in the future based on mass adoption and biodegradable solutions in a fast-growing inter lapping markets that can utilize this product and help its growth with mass production.

In the near future, it is very likely we will see hemp being implemented for consumer goods products and industrial use products. We could see it being used for medical products and reduce the use of fossil fuels in plastic by adopting a biodegradable solution that will be very cheap and useful in many different industries. As we see the growth and projections of future markets such as CBD, Marijuana, and Hemp. Maybe in 5-10 years, we can see this solution be adapted into many medical and industrial plastic solutions. It is only a matter of time for this market to explode, and the need for this solution and the opportunity of the growth of these interlacing markets will accelerate even more the possibility of mass adoption of hemp-based biodegradable plastic for day to day life solutions.

 

MOXIE es el Canal de ULACIT (www.ulacit.ac.cr), producido por y para los estudiantes universitarios, en alianza con el medio periodístico independiente Delfino.cr, con el propósito de brindarles un espacio para generar y difundir sus ideas.  Se llama Moxie - que en inglés urbano significa tener la capacidad de enfrentar las dificultades con inteligencia, audacia y valentía - en honor a nuestros alumnos, cuyo “moxie” los caracteriza.

Bibliographic references:
• Grand View Reseach. (2020). Legal Marijuana Market Size Worth $73.6 Billion By 2027 | CAGR 18.1%. Retrieved from https://www.grandviewresearch.com/press-release/global-legal-marijuana-market
• Ritchie, H. (2018). Plastic Pollution. Retrieved from https://ourworldindata.org/plastic-pollution
• Weed Maps. (n.d.). What’s the Difference Between Hemp and Marijuana? Retrieved from https://weedmaps.com/learn/the-plant/hemp-vs-marijuana/