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Vishal Vivek

Make Sure The Mask You Use To Protect Yourself Doesn’t Harm Our Nature

By | Sustainable Lifestyle | No Comments

The other day I was reading an article published in a renowned news website which said that soon there will be more masks than jellyfish in the oceans and other water bodies.

And it is a clear indication that the coronavirus pandemic is not only a threat to humans but marine life as well.

Heaps of gloves, masks, hand sanitizer bottles, and other medical wastes are piling under the waves. This is an indication of the onset of a new type of pollution if nothing is done.


Since there is clear evidence that wearing a mask can lower the chances of contracting the coronavirus, masks are the new normal for all of us.

The earth is already in distress due to pollution and global warming; thus, we must not transfer our troubles (the pandemic) to it now.

The lockdown during the pandemic is giving the earth time and a chance to heal itself. We must not mess it up for once. And it is time to make sure the mask we use to protect ourselves doesn’t harm our nature.

Disadvantages of Using Single Use Masks

Single-use masks are usually manufactured using polypropylene which does not break down or decomposes easily.

Polypropylene is a thermoplastic polymer and is widely used due to its chemical resistance. This plastic is the safest of plastics and is considered safe for human use, but it is not eco-friendly.

This plastic causes severe harm to marine life as it does not disappear but breaks down slowly into micro-plastic. This micro-plastic enters the food chains when marine animals accidentally ingest it.


The toxins from the plastic can kill marine animals causing their population to reduce and ultimately disappear. This can cause an imbalance in the ecosystem.

Using multi-use masks is the way forward. Masks made of fabric can be used more than once and can be washed if dirty.

Multi-Use Fabric Masks

The first fabric that comes to my mind is cotton. It is a breathable, absorbent, and comfortable fabric that is easily available to us.

Cotton masks advantages

  • It is easy to
  • Cotton fabric is hypoallergenic. This means that cotton does not trigger or cause skin or breathing
  • This fabric lasts longer as it is
  • Cotton doesn’t emit odors and is
  • Cotton if not blended with any other material does not stretch and lose

Although cotton is good fabric, the cultivation process involves steps that are harmful to us as well as the environment.


Here are a few things that make cotton cultivation unhealthy for humans and the ecosystem:

  • Cotton crops require a lot of water to
  • The amount of chemicals sprayed on the cotton plant is the highest in the cotton

Also, when they mix with the soil it can strip its nutrients away.

A better alternative for cotton is the lesser-known hemp fabric. It is a misunderstood crop due to its classification under the Cannabis Sativa family.

Why use Hemp Masks During This Pandemic?

There are several reasons to do so. Although this fabric from the hemp plant has been in use for several centuries, due to its connection to the marijuana family, several misconceptions surround it.


Here are a few facts that make hemp a super crop:

  • It can grow anywhere in the world, and in many types of
  • It can be cultivated without pesticides, insecticides, and
  • It kills weeds, purifies soil, and is perfect for rotation use, due to its short harvest cycle (120 days).
  • It flourishes in rainwater and does not need excess water to
  • The roots of the hemp plant go deep into the soil and act as a natural soil aerator and prevent soil
  • Hemp plants can be grown in the same soil for at least twenty years without adding any fertilizers or crop rotation. Interestingly, this super crop enhances the soil richness than before the plant was
  • Once the crop is harvested, the farmer mixes the roots and leaves back into the soil to keep the soil rich in
  • Hemp crop is ready for harvesting within four months of planting
  • It can grow on small pieces of land suitable for
  • Hemp crops can be harvested several times a
  • Hemp plants are the only plant species that can capture high amounts of carbon from the environment making it pollution-free.

325 kgs of carbon can be easily absorbed by a ton of this plant.

All parts of the hemp plant from seeds to roots can be utilized. In fact, hemp fiber can be used to generate strong, durable, and environment-friendly plastic substitutes such as masks.

How are hemp masks better than other fabric masks?

Hemp is a clear winner when it comes to sustainable masks because of its versatility and durability. Hemp plants utilize less than 50% of water than cotton crops making it an environmentally favorable fabric.


That hemp has the strongest and the longest plant fiber in the world - has been the biggest learning of my life in the past decade. Hemp is also resistant to rotting and abrasion. And during ancient times it was used to manufacture sails of boats.

Another very important reason for adding hemp masks in your wardrobe is that it is biodegradable. It hardly takes a few weeks to a couple of months to decompose, while cotton masks may take more than five months to biodegrade.

So here is a fabric that is not only eco-friendly to cultivate but easier to decompose.

Here are a few facts to prove that hemp is the fabric to use to protect ourselves and the earth during this pandemic:

  • Fabric made from hemp is stronger and durable than cotton. And the best part is that the more you wash hemp fabric the softer it gets, unlike other fabrics that may start withering with each
  • Hemp fabric is resistant to bacteria and mold growth. Thus, masks made from hemp can be worn multiple times without the need to wash it immediately. This can help save water (usable), which is slowly disappearing from the
  • Highly resistant to termite, chemical, and to a great extent fire as
  • UV resistant. This characteristic of the hemp fabric saves your skin from skin burns and darkening.
  • Low elasticity makes it retain its shape at all
  • Hemp fabric can easily blend with other fabrics and synthetic
  • Long lifespan due to the strength of the
  • Resistant to
  • Hemp fabric has thermoregulation abilities that mean that you can wear this fabric around the year. It keeps your skin cool during winters and warms during
  • The tensile strength of this fabric is quite high due to which it does not tear or stretch
  • Last but not the least, hemp is a biodegradable fabric. If your hemp mask reaches the end of its life, cut it, and throw it in the compost It will decompose within a few weeks.

Hemp fabric can be reused until you want because it does not easily tear. Using hemp masks is the most effective way to promote sustainability.

There isn’t any other fabric that can be used multiple times for several years without wear and tear and can quickly decompose when added to the compost pile.

With so many advantages of using hemp masks, we must go the hemp way as soon as possible.

Author Bio: Vishal Vivek, Co-founded the NGO Hemp Foundation to increase awareness about hemp which is the most misunderstood plant on the planet. He believes that we can fight climate change, water crisis, and plastic pollution with Hemp. Times Group recognized him as a legendary entrepreneur and published his biography in I Did IT- Vol 2 at the age of just 30!

Why is Hemp Clothing the Best Combination of Fashion and Sustainability?

By | Sustainable Fashion | No Comments

Ever tried an artisan vegan burger. It’s possible to savor the flavor of your favorite meat patties while still letting the animal live.

What if you could enjoy a guilt-free fast fashion too. Hemp looks like the answer.

There’s a whirlwind of change around hemp legislation. The crop has been lobbied for in the U.S. and Australia over the last 5 years and is now slowly contributing to several industries there—such as paper, textiles, fabric, oil, protein powder, bioplastics, skincare, rope, and even automobile manufacturing.

Its broad utility is it is re-emerging as a major player in the agricultural world. After almost a century of stigmatization by misassociation to its unruly cousin—marijuana—it's making a deserved comeback! Appreciate it.


Previous Legal Obstacles to Hemp

Industrial hemp and marijuana are derived from the same plant, Cannabis sativa, albeit from two different varieties of it. The marijuana variety contains more tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which has mind-altering effects. The industrial hemp variety is the one which is the topic of discussion here.

As recently as 2010, most American states still restricted or outright banned the cultivation of this plant. But in 2014 and 2018, legislation was made to accommodate the industrial hemp variety of the plant in America. Similar changes happened in Australia in 2017. The hemp industry is now catching on to its versatile potential. The future became bright.

The Sustainable Advantages of Cultivating Hemp

Hemp’s properties and requirements make it a very economical plant to cultivate. Here are some of them:

  • Quick cultivation:

    It grows quickly, within 4 months. This helps farmers plan their harvesting cycles more flexibly and allows them to use more crops on their land.

  • Water conservation:

    As a weed, it doesn’t need much water to thrive. Compared to cotton, water usage is less than half as much, per plant.


  • High productivity:

    It grows densely and has higher pulp production per acre than many trees.

  • Collateral benefits:

    Can be used as a rotation crop, since it has nitrogen-fixation. This enriches the soil for other plants.

  • Low maintenance:

    Hemp doesn’t require special topsoil, nutrients, or fertilizers for optimal growth. Unlike cotton, it is not very high maintenance.


  • Versatility:

    All of its parts can find use in industry, from the inner core to outer fibers. Wastage is minimum, and farmers get to make the most of their investment.

  • Pest Resistance:

    The Cannabis sativa plant is one of the more resilient plants in nature, in terms of avoiding too much damage by pests. This also reduces the need for pesticides, which are quite expensive for farmers, as well as toxic to the surrounding animal chain.


These facts make it easier for farmers to cultivate the crop, as it becomes a favorable risk to weigh in on. Investing in a crop that has so many uses, as well as such a convenient growth cycle, is a no-brainer.

Hemp’s Use in the Clothing and Fashion Industry

Throughout history, it was used as a fabric and textile, due to the aforementioned legal reasons. Then cotton took over as the main organic source of clothing material in the modern era.

Hemp fabrics are derived from the bast fibers on the outer layer of the plant. These fibers are taken through a process of retting, breaking, scutching, hackling, roving, and spinning, to eventually create fabrics and textiles.

Here are some of their advantages:

  • Durability:

    Hemp fabrics are more durable than cotton and wool. This also means they are coarser and a little more uncomfortable. The softness does improve, however, with successive wash cycles, so this isn’t anything to worry about.

  • Cool & airy:

    They do compensate for their slight coarseness by being very breathable—air passes through them easily, which cools down wearers immensely. This makes it a great option in warmer climates.

  • Hardy and tough material:

    Hemp fibers are tougher than that of cotton. So clothes and textiles made from them last longer, thus conserving money, material, and reducing the carbon footprint.

  • Less Pilling:

    Hemp fabrics are better at resisting lint and fuzz accumulating on its surface—a negative phenomenon called pilling—which makes it an attractive option for users.

  • Resistant to Microbes:

    Hemp clothes, being tougher and of different material to other softer fabrics, are more resistant to microbes like bacteria and fungi. So clothes are less likely to catch bad odors from moisture degradation and mildew. They retain their freshness better.

Hemp clothes are a niche category nowadays, but the trend is catching on, as more people become environmentally conscious about the carbon footprint of the clothes industry.

The Effects of  Hemp on the Fashion & Clothing Industry

More than just as a great fabric, hemp fabric production will have a positive effect on a lot of other facets of society. Growing hemp will have its direct and indirect effects on the fashion industry itself.

  • Going Organic:

    As an alternative to cotton, it could supplement the organic fashion industry and reduce the need for inorganic, non-biodegradable clothing material. Maximizing the organic sector of the clothing industry will keep the Earth cleaner in the years to come, as the climate change issue intensifies.

  • Biodegradable waste:

    Biodegradable materials like hemp are not so severe in the environment. Often, used and discarded clothes are disposed of in landfills and/or burned.


Thus, if the clothes are made up of toxic inorganic plastics and such, they are released into the atmosphere or soil. Hemp then does not give out a significant amount of greenhouse gases as a result.

  • Could slow down Fast Fashion:

    The fashion industry has gotten a bad rap, as of recently, due to reports of it being one of the most pollutive industries—with people buying and disposing of synthetic clothes far more frequently—and exploiting laborers in countries with lax labor laws.

The disposable income spent on clothes could reduce in time, as environmental awareness increases. And with better organic products like hemp on the horizon, customers will be encouraged to be more responsible.


When you take a bird’s eye view on the hemp issue, you can see why it is fast turning into a major industry in and of itself. And in fashion, it makes its statement.


Author Bio: Vishal Vivek, Co-founded the NGO Hemp Foundation to increase awareness about hemp which is the most misunderstood plant on the planet. He believes that we can fight climate change, water crisis, and plastic pollution with Hemp. Times Group recognized him as a legendary entrepreneur and published his biography in I Did IT- Vol 2 at the age of just 30!