Specialty Fabrics Review March 2021 - 47

Although it is generally believed
that sustainability adds to cost, over
time sustainable practices are going
to benefit stakeholders and society
overall. " Today, sustainable materials
may demand a premium, but in the
long run, price point may come down, "
says sustainability expert and Google
Scholar Dr. Dnyanada Satam.
The higher price that sustainable
and value-added materials demand
will not be an issue for developing
products that find applications in
health care and the environmental
industry. Given the importance
of functionality in fields such as
infrastructure, automotive and
defense, performance attributes,
requirements and cost factors must
be carefully evaluated. If performance
requirements are met by sustainable
materials, their cost will be second
on the list.

Hemp: A new opportunity
Hemp is a bast fiber from the plant
Cannabis sativa. These fibers are
rich in lignin, and they are stiffer,
an advantage for certain highperformance applications. This
advantage should be exploited, rather
than attempting to push it into markets
that demand other performance
attributes, such as softness and
smoothness. When considering the
innate attributes of fibers like hemp, flax,
coir and jute, it's clear they are instead
well-suited for industrial applications.
The passage of the 2018 Farm
Bill enables the production of
hemp with a regulation that its
tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is less
than 0.3 percent. About 46 states in
the U.S. that have legalized growing
hemp meet the regulation. Recently,
the hemp-related association Vote
Hemp has been lobbying for approval
of hemp with elevated THC content

up to 1.0 percent. (Hemp-based food
products are regulated by the Food
and Drug Administration [FDA].)
Supporting factors include
indications that a lesser quantity of
resources will be required, and there
is the possibility of cultivation under
conditions similar to those for cotton.
Right now, interest is high in CBD oil,
so the initial attraction for farmers
is the premium for CBD oil, as well
as the fibers that serve as valuable
by-products.
" Cotton farmers are looking for
diversifying risks and looking for new
market opportunities. These are the
reasons that farmers in the Carolinas
and West Texas are looking at hemp, "
says Dr. Kater Hake, vice president of
agricultural and environmental research
at Cary, N.C.-based Cotton Inc.
In places where water is a precious
commodity and when sales are
dependent on exports, new and
favorable opportunities are always
welcome. This is true for crops like
cotton in the U.S.
" Cotton plantings represent the
largest acreage plantings on the High
Plains of Texas, averaging 4.2 million
acres the last five years, " says Steve
Verett, chief executive officer of
Lubbock, Texas-based Plains Cotton
Growers Inc. " Many High Plains
cotton farmers plant other crops today
for various economic and agronomic
reasons. We welcome any new crop
such as hemp that would provide our
farmers a new economic opportunity
to increase their profitability. "

Although it is
generally believed
that sustainability
adds to cost, over time
sustainable practices
are going to benefit
stakeholders and
society overall.

Challenges ahead
" Hemp is new to consumers and may
replace synthetics in certain blends
in developing consumer products, "
says Hake. However, there are some
challenges ahead and the knowledge
base must be strengthened.
www.SpecialtyFabricsReview.com

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Specialty Fabrics Review March 2021

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