I apologize for not posting an update in a while. I’ve been very busy, but I have some exciting new details to unveil.
Back in November when I was at the Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance I met several individuals who, like myself, constantly receive inquiries from people and companies who are trying to find a source for hemp plastic pellets. Unfortunately, there is no magic supply of hemp plastic out there, there’s just no one producing it. I had a feeling there was a strong demand for this material, but my suspicions were confirmed during the final day of the convention where I found myself at a meeting with some of the top players in the Canadian hemp food industry. After discussing the issue of hemp plastic for some time, it was agreed that if I could produce the raw material, that these companies would be very interested in using it in their product packaging. The interest was so strong, that I actually left the table that night with a few substantial purchase orders for the material.
Since this development, I’ve been in talks with several fiber-based plastic facilities in an attempt to work out an agreement to produce this material. However, I’ve experienced several issues in working with these facilities. Everything from vastly over-blown prices, to production capacity and sourcing issues. This led me to consider the possibility that the only practical way to produce large quantities of this material at an acceptable price, may be to control the sourcing, processing, and manufacturing aspects.
In an effort to test this concept quickly and efficiently, I’ve teamed up with Joe Greene, a professor of sustainable manufacturing and mechanical engineering at Chico State University. Joe has been teaching at Chico State for over 15 years, and has been working with bioplastics since before I was born. Additionally, Chico State University is home to the most comprehensive plastics compounding lab at a University West of the Mississippi. Together we are working to develop and test a proprietary blend of hemp plastic material that has the ability to be scaled to large production capacity. Because we’re essentially starting from the ground up, we estimate that this research and development process will take some time. But with my knowledge and Joe’s experience, we are confident we can create something truly amazing.
If I can confirm that this approach to the market is feasible, the possibilities are endless. The more readily available hemp plastic is, the more products we will see being made from it, and subsequently, less petroleum-based plastic in our landfills. By being able to provide hemp plastic to anyone with an idea for a product, my impact on the industry won’t just be limited to the products I can produce and market myself. By being the supplier, there is the opportunity to promote the use of fiber-based plastics across every industry, and to build much needed respect for the industrial hemp plant as a raw material.
More information to come as things continue to develop.