In the past few years, we, the people, have been talking more and more about the environmental issues we are facing, as well as climate change. Some have taken action to combat these issues, such as reducing the amount of energy and polluting products they use, reusing certain products to lessen waste, and recycling materials to keep them from entering landfills. Generally speaking, these are quite easy things to do to help the earth. But there is a problem: the plastic that we use. It is based on fossil fuels, and when us humans burn these fossil fuels, we but excessive carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and ocean, along with other greenhouse gases. Not to mention that when these plastics are thrown away, they make their way into the ocean, weakening a vital element in combating climate change. These pollutants can take several centuries to biodegrade. But there is a possible solution to this problem: plastic made from a plant. And so, the question is asked: Should we rely more on hemp-plastic?
There are reasons that would lead some to the conclusion that hemp plastic is actually better than traditional plastic.. According to an article on a website called Nordic Oil, hemp plastic “takes 3 to 6 months to decompose and is able to be recycled indefinitely.” We know generic plastic can be recycled, but the vast majority of it ends up in landfills, and will stay there for centuries, gradually decomposing. With how many people there are on this earth, using and throwing away plastic, it is clear A plastic that, if not recycled, making its way into the ocean, but only staying there for a few months, would take way less of a toll on the health of the ocean, thus heightening the chance of us humans winning the fight against climate change. There are countless tons of plastic there. The same website article also states that “The production of hemp plastic is more environmentally friendly since it does not emit CO2, cannabis plants actually capture carbon dioxide and turn it into oxygen. For every ton of hemp produced, 1.63 tons of carbon is removed from the air. These plants also enrich the soil they’re grown in. The deep roots prevent soil erosion so the farmland can be cultivated over and over again.” These are two more reasons to utilize hemp plastic: Less carbon in the air, and helping small farmers with their crops.
It is important to say that the website this article comes from, Nordic Oil, is dedicated to supplying information and input about products pertaining to CBD oil, as well as selling CBD oil. It is important to give more information about the article. It is a blog, which is a weakness, as this guarantees that bias is present. There is some loaded language sprinkled throughout the article, describing our usage of plastic as an “addiction”, starting off a paragraph with “Let’s face it”, and saying ‘There’s no reason to…” the bias is very clear. The strength is that the source contains evidence that can easily be verified, such as the part when they say 93% of Americans aged 6 and over have traces of BPA, a chemical found in plastic, in their body. Overall, this source is weak, because it comes from a blog, which automatically contains bias, and because of the loaded language. It can be inferred that this person thinks we should make all plastic with hemp.
Another perspective comes from another blog. They are critical of the claim that we should make ALL of plastic from hemp, and they give their reasons for this. In their blog, the author states that we shouldn’t make all plastics from hemp because “you could kiss goodbye to great swathes of the planet’s biodiversity in order to farm enough to process it into a biofeedstock for plastics” as well as because “the end product will not have the barrier properties or the correct flexibility and tensile strength for every packaging, electrical and automotive application” and finally, because the “plastics already used to package everything from paracetamol to life-saving blood for transfusions have been tested to the high standards medical grade polymers have to meet in order to be marketable. To test a bioplastic made of hemp feedstock for every single application would be incredibly expensive and in many cases entirely pointless.”
The strength of this source is that it comes from a website that is focused on plastic manufacturing, so it can be inferred that the author has some expertise on this subject. Another strength is the reasons listed. This blog focuses on issues that go beyond the functionality of the plastic, and its effect on the ocean. It discusses potential problems that maybe some people who want to completely replace oil-based plastic have not considered. The plastic used in medical supplies have already been established as safe, so it would be costly in time and expenses to try and replace it. As far as replacing plastic used for advanced, sturdier packaging, that would also take time to test whether or not it can meet the standards needed to qualify. The part about biodiversity; how would we sustain both it and enough hemp to make plastic for everyone? These are all valid points to consider.
But there is one major weakness. This source is a blog. A blog filled with highly loaded language and a condescending title: “’Why don’t we make all our plastics from hemp’ and other silly arguments.” The loaded language is really off-putting. It makes it seem like the author wants to push people away from considering their points. It makes it seem like they think they are superior to anyone who wants to only use hemp-plastic.
While this distracts from the valid points made in the source, it is still relatively strong, just as strong and as weak as the previous source.
To conclude, I think we, the people, should rely more on hemp-based plastic, but we should not completely abandon plastic based on oil. The plastic used in medical procedures and supplies should be left as is. There is no point in replacing it with something that only takes months to biodegrade. Biodiversity is important to the environment, and to the economy, and the compromise met to plant enough hemp to make enough plastic for everyone and everything to use is just not worth the trouble. The biodegradability of hemp plastic is not a good replacement of plastic meant to be used for a long time. Imagine you have an appliance made out out of something that starts to wear away after months of having it. There is just no point in having to replace something that every several months. Hemp-plastic should be used for things that are used and quickly discarded, like fast food containers, straws, plastic lids, plastic grocery bags or any packaging for food or substances meant to be consumed within months of purchasing.