As cannabis legalization continues to gain momentum across the country, hemp usage is also growing in popularity, especially in bioplastics. It's no surprise that companies are trying to get into this space, as according to Zion Market Research, the global cannabis packaging industry will be worth upwards of $20 billion by 2025.
That said, companies in this emerging space say they are also in it to create a greener future, claiming they’re pioneers in creating sustainable packaging solutions for cannabis businesses that uses hemp bioplastic. Even Big Packaging players in plastics are starting to make forays into this space as well.
Trade shows have even emerged, focusing on regulation, education, and best practices for pioneering companies that want to get into the industry.
So, is hemp bioplastics and packaging the real deal, or is it just more virtue signaling?
Hemp bioplastics is defined by what it is and isn’t made of. It’s not made from fossil fuels, so that means the plastics doesn’t produce CO2 as it decomposes. Hemp has a high cellulose (plant based) content, so that makes it a great plastic material for manufacturing material.
Even though hemp bioplastics is effective, it does come with pros and cons. While the plastic is stronger and stiffer than other forms of plastic, it’s not always the right choice for all usages. Hemp bioplastics lack flexibility, which makes it limiting in its applications.
Additionally, hemp plastics are still very expensive, which makes them impractical for some business applications when it comes to the bottom line.
That said with mass adoption, hemp bioplastics would achieve an economy of scale that would bring costs down and become competitive with more harmful plastics financially. Once that happens, we will see a mainstreaming of this ecofriendly development.