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Counter-current as early as their first steps, Öko creations made the choice to prioritize hemp fiber in many of their products while the Canadian market did not advertise and did not really offer this raw material. Let's discover why this choice is more than relevant today ...

Hemp, to try it is to adopt it!

In a sustainable lifestyle, several factors must be taken into consideration in order to reduce our ecological footprint: transport, housing, food, consumption and waste. In the context of eco-responsible purchasing, the proximity of clothing, a healthy and respectful working environment for its employees and the choice of raw materials are constraints to consider.

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What is hemp?

«Industrial hemp» should not be confused with cannabis, it is in fact the level of THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) which differentiates each species. Industrial hemp THC level is below 0.3%, which is currently authorized but highly controlled by the Canadian government (see Industrial Hemp Regulations). Recreational hemp THC level is over 5% and its legalization will take place on July 1st, 2018 (Bill C-45, see Cannabis Act). Hemp has long been set aside (it became illegal in 1938 and hemp stumps were not allowed in Canada until 1998), yet its many virtues have been used for centuries.

Nutritive: for the body and the skin. Hemp seeds are considered a "super food", they are rich in protein, fatty acids, vitamins and minerals, good for both the heart and the brain. Hemp oil is recommended for high blood pressure because its proportions of fatty acids are ideal. Also used in cosmetics, it has nourishing, moisturizing and antiaging properties (see Quebec Hemp).

Insulation: hemp houses, in addition to being ecological, are proven very effective even during the Quebec winters. Hemp is used as insulation, which helps keep the heat in the winter and cool in the summer. In addition, hemp houses are homes that breathe and whose carbon footprint is often neutral (negative emissions from manufacturing and transportation are less important than the sequestration allowed by this type of wall). A specialist in the field (http://maisonenchanvre.com/) will explain it better than me.

Resistant: hemp fiber has long been used for the manufacture of sails and boat ropes. Moreover, Logistik Unicorp-Régitek created the first hemp fiber combat uniform for the Canadian army presented in May 2017. However, military hemp clothing was already present during the two world wars.

Ideal for weaving: hemp fiber is one of the oldest textile fibers found (in Antiquity). It does not require chemical products (unlike cotton or bamboo) because its work is mechanical (retting grinding, scutching and combing), it is naturally antibacterial, antifungal and resists ultraviolet light (solar radiation harmful to the skin).

 

It is this last caracteristic of hemp which Öko creations wished to take advantage of. A textile fiber that softens with each wash and can be mixed to make it more silky, making it an ideal material for sanitary napkins, nursing pads or cleansing pads.

As a bonus, hemp cultivation is simple and natural, the use of pesticides is not necessary because it is not prone to attack by insects and pests. It also doesn’t need much water, so it easily overpowers cotton when we aim for sustainable agriculture. Its yield (the area versus the amount of plants) is high and fast and can be grown at our latitudes.

To conclude, choosing hemp fiber as raw material is an enlightened choice, a local natural fabric, resistant to frequent washing (hurray for parenting anyone?), which requires few resources for its cultivation, its transformation and its manufacture make it the best ecological choice in Quebec in the textile industry. So if you have not tested it yet, whether it’s on your plate, in your house or on your skin,I think it's time to give it a try!

 

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Aurore Lecocq

Stay-at-home-mom aiming for a zero waste lifestyle, student in Sustainable Development at Laval University and in Environmental Sciences at Uqam, also a graduate in Sustainable Energy Resources at Uqam.