hemp bioplastics
hemp bioplastics

Hemp Bioplastics to End Forever Chemicals and PFAS Molecules? - Ohio Company to Grow Hemp for New Hemp Bioplastics

Can hemp plastics help solve the PFAS problem and cut down on forever chemicals?

Posted by:
Laurel Leaf on Wednesday Apr 24, 2024

hemp bioplastics for forever chemicals

Ohio Hemp Company, based in Dayton, has signed a substantial deal with Heartland Industries, headquartered in Detroit. According to this new deal, the Ohio Hemp business will supply hemp fibre to aid the development of bioplastic, which will then be used in the fabrication of automobile components by a Belgian business.


Following the federal legalization of hemp under the 2018 Farm Bill, Ohio Republican Governor Mike DeWine supports the state's legalization of the substance in 2019. TJ Richardson and Justin Helt, proprietors of Ohio Hemp Company, were among the first farmers in Ohio to produce hemp. They began a planting effort in 2020 with 11,000 cannabinoid hemp plants in an attempt to capitalize on the then-growing CBD business.


Through this partnership, Ohio Hemp Company increases its customer base to include a processor in Michigan, marking a significant new milestone. The company's position in the market is strengthened by this strategic collaboration, which allows it to source raw hemp material to create bioplastics.


Shifting Focus: Transitioning to Hemp for Grain and Fiber Production


Following the downturn in the CBD market, Richardson and Helt shifted their focus to cultivating hemp plants optimized for grain and fibre production rather than CBD and other cannabinoids. Recognizing the versatility of hemp, the company continued to explore various opportunities within the crop.


Helt shared insights with agricultural news outlet Farm and Dairy, citing his grandfather's belief that hemp represents a significant development in agriculture akin to the emergence of soybeans in the 1950s. This perspective underscores the potential growth trajectory for hemp within the state.


From the inception of their venture, Richardson and Helt understood the manifold applications of hemp. Transitioning away from CBD-centric hemp cultivation, they sought out local businesses in Ohio utilizing hemp in their products. This quest led them to Heartland Industries, a Detroit-based hemp processing facility established in 2020. In 2022, a partnership was forged between Heartland Industries and Ravago, a Belgian bioplastics manufacturer, wherein hemp fibre supplied by the former would be utilized.


Tim Almond, chairman and co-founder of Heartland Industries, acknowledged the challenges faced by his company and collaborating farmers in navigating the cultivation and processing of hemp. With decades of prohibition, much of the knowledge and equipment associated with hemp had either been lost or redirected to other crops like corn, soybeans, and wheat. Consequently, there was a learning curve in reacquainting themselves with hemp cultivation techniques and technology.


Heartland Industries utilizes hemp fibre sourced from Ohio Hemp Company and other Midwest farmers to produce small hemp pellets known as nurdles. Following this initial processing stage, the nurdles are dispatched to Ravago, where they are blended with plastic nurdles to create a bioplastic comprising 70% plastic and 30% hemp fibre. This bioplastic is subsequently employed in the fabrication of automotive parts.


Almond emphasized the importance of environmental considerations in product development, highlighting the challenges of balancing environmental benefits with cost and performance factors. He noted that Heartland Industries has achieved a harmonious equilibrium within the plastic manufacturing realm, incorporating hemp as a 30% ingredient in the recipe. This approach not only yields cost savings and weight reduction but also maintains performance standards while significantly reducing the carbon footprint.


Expansion and Innovation: Ohio Hemp Company's Growth Strategy


Initially, Heartland Industries established partnerships with farmers in Michigan to streamline its hemp sourcing and enhance operational efficiency. However, as the hemp fiber market expanded, the company extended its collaborations to include growers from neighboring states such as Indiana, Illinois, and Ohio.


In 2022, Ohio Hemp Company embarked on cultivating and researching dual-purpose hemp varieties capable of yielding both fiber and grain. With the successful cultivation of 100 acres of this crop last year, the company is poised to double its efforts, aiming to plant 200 acres of dual-purpose hemp this year, fueled by the recent contract with Heartland Industries.


This new agreement between the hemp grower and Heartland Industries constitutes a purchase contract, operating on a non-binding, year-to-year basis, ensuring a steady supply of hemp fiber. Ohio Hemp Company is actively expanding its infrastructure to accommodate its growing operations, investing in a new processing and storage facility while also researching innovative hemp varieties.


Helt expressed enthusiasm regarding the contract with Heartland Industries and other developments within his company, emphasizing the burgeoning demand for hemp in the region. He remarked on the significance of having a major processor with substantial demand, noting that all the elements necessary for building a comprehensive hemp industry—from cultivation to consumer products—are finally falling into place, heralding a promising future for the sector.


Cultivating Sustainable Solutions: Ohio Hemp Company's Commitment to Environmental Stewardship


Ohio Hemp Company is still very much devoted to environmental stewardship even as it grows and develops strategic alliances. The organization has adopted a concept of sustainability that goes beyond just profitability, realizing the ecological advantages inherent in hemp growing. Ohio Hemp Company responds to the changing market conditions while staying true to its fundamental principles of supporting sustainable farming methods by giving priority to the growing of hemp optimized for grain and fiber production rather than CBD-centric variants.


Ohio Hemp Company is involved in the development of bioplastics, a viable substitute for traditional plastics with a far lower environmental effect, in partnership with Heartland Industries and other local farmers. This collaboration enables hemp fiber to be used as a vital component in the production of bioplastics, providing the automobile sector with an environmentally responsible and sustainable option. This dedication to using hemp to produce bioplastics is a reflection of Ohio Hemp Company's proactive approach to tackling environmental issues while promoting regional economic development and innovation.


Ohio Hemp Company is firmly establishing itself as a pioneer in sustainable agriculture as it expands its hemp crop to include dual-purpose varieties capable of producing both fiber and grains. The company positions itself at the forefront of the expanding hemp sector by investing in infrastructure and research, enabling it to meet the growing demand for environmentally friendly alternatives. Ohio Hemp Company is dedicated to innovation and environmental stewardship, and it aims to guide the industry and agricultural sectors towards a more sustainable future.


Bottom Line


Ohio Hemp Company's partnership with Heartland Industries marks a significant step forward in the development of sustainable solutions within the hemp industry. By prioritizing environmental stewardship and innovation, Ohio Hemp Company not only navigates market shifts but also drives positive change in agriculture and industry. Through strategic alliances, research initiatives, and a commitment to sustainability, Ohio Hemp Company is poised to lead the way towards a more environmentally responsible and economically viable future for the hemp sector and beyond.






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