Tuesday, November 6, 2012

U.S.D.A. Bulletin No. 404, Washington, D.C., October 14, 1916

Updated about a month ago
Hemp Hurds As Paper-Making Material

[From the "Conclusions" section:]

There appears to be little doubt that under the present system of forest use and consumption the present supply cannot withstand the demands placed upon it. By the time improved methods of forestry have established an equilibrium between production and consumption, the price of pulp wood may be such that a knowledge of other available raw materials may be imperative.

Semicommercial paper-making tests were conducted, therefore, on hemp hurds, in cooperation with a paper manufacturer. After several trials, under conditions of treatment and manufacture which are regarded as favorable in comparison with those used with pulp wood, paper was produced which received very favorable comment both from investigators and from the trade which according to official test would be classed as a No. 1 machine finished printing paper. (p. 25)

[End excerpt]

Commentary on USDA Bulletin No. 404 by Jack Herer in "The Emperor Wears No Clothes," 1991 edition, pp. 20-22, 118-122.

This remarkable new pulp technology for papermaking was invented in 1916 by our own U.S. Department of Agriculture chief scientists, Lyster H. Dewey, Botanist in Charge of Fiber-Plant Investigations, and Jason L. Merrill, Paper-Plant Chemist, Paper-Plant Investigations.

As the USDA bulletin suggested, this process had to stay in the laboratory until the invention of decorticating and harvesting machinery allowed for its economic utilization.

Until this time, hemp paper had only been made from rags and stalk fibers while the fiber and cellulose-rich hurds were burnt to fertilize the soil.

Some cannabis plant strains regularly reach tree-like heights of 20 feet or more in one growing season.

The new paper process used hemp "hurds" - 77% of the hemp stalk's weight, which was then a wasted by-product of the fiber-stripping process. In 1916, USDA Bulletin No. 404, reported that one acre of cannabis hemp, in annual rotation over a 20-year period, would produce as much pulp for paper as 4.1 acres of trees being cut down over the same 20-year period. This process would use only 1/4 to 1/7 as much polluting sulfur-based acid chemicals to break down the glue-like lignin that binds the fibers of the pulp, or even none at all using soda ash. The problem of dioxin contamination of rivers is avoided in the hemp paper making process, which does not need to use chlorine bleach (as the wood pulp paper making process requires) but instead safely substitutes hydrogen peroxide in the bleaching process.

All this lignin must be broken down to make pulp paper. Hemp pulp is only 4% lignin, while trees are 18-30% lignin. Thus hemp provides four times as much pulp with at least four to seven times less pollution. . . .

As we have seen, this hemp pulp-paper potential depended on the invention and the engineering of new machines for stripping the hemp by modern technology. This would also lower demand for lumber and reduce the cost of housing, while at the same time helping re-oxygenate the planet.

As an example: If the new (1916) hemp pulp paper process were legal today, it would soon replace about 70% of all wood pulp paper, including computer printout paper, corrugated boxes and paper bags."
 

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