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Hemp


Don’t Get Bamboozled By Bamboo

Posted by Brianna Kilcullen on

When you search eco-friendly towels on google, you’ll get a list of different eco-friendly alternatives and options. A super vogue and common fabric that is used in different home products such as clothing, bed sheets, towels etc is bamboo. 
But for those who prioritize eco-friendly and sustainable products, is bamboo a good option?

The answer is yes - and no. It really depends on what you define as sustainable and what you prioritize. 

Here’s the quick rundown of three important points regarding bamboo fabrics and sustainability: 

 

  1. Bamboo uses less water than traditional natural fibers: Bamboo traditionally takes less water to grow than other natural fibers. However, compared to hemp for example, it still uses a significant amount of water to grow. It depends on how important water conservation is to you when choosing a sustainable and eco-friendly fabric for your towels. 

  2. Most bamboo fabrics on the market are a form of rayon: This essentially means that it isn’t a super natural fiber because the manufacturing process is intensive and involves a lot of harmful and intensive chemicals. Not only does this mean your bamboo fabric product might have residual chemicals that you now wear and use, but those chemicals were also emitted into the air and environment. 

However, this point really is specific to the brand. If the brand uses lyocell bamboo then it is a much more sustainable alternative. Bamboo is definitely a step up from traditional polyester or non-organic and sustainably grown cotton. This point isn’t meant to slander bamboo fabrics, but rather, just emphasize the importance of doing your research when it comes to what type of bamboo the brand uses and their manufacturing process. There are some amazing brands that utilize bamboo in a sustainable way for home furnishings and decor. 

We have another article outlining more differences between bamboo towels that are currently available on the market and how they differ from our hemp + organic cotton blend Anact towels. You can read it here

If you’re looking for a more sustainable and eco-friendly fabric option for your towel purchase, check out our hemp + organic cotton blend towels that on average save 526 days of water with one purchase. Check out our most popular bundle here

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Top 3 Reasons Why Hemp Towels Are Sustainable

Posted by Brianna Kilcullen on

When we were first starting Anact, we wanted to focus on a clear sustainable and eco-friendly option for our customers where they didn’t have to sacrifice quality for sustainability. We spent years combing the sustainable textile supply chain looking for the most sustainable options before custom designing a hemp and organic cotton blend. Here are 3 quick reasons why hemp is a sustainable fabric: 

  • Hemp production doesn’t use harmful insecticides or pesticides -  Hemp is one of the few plants that do not need any pesticides during the growing process because it grows like a weed and naturally repels insects. Oftentimes, people use pesticides to make sure their crops grow properly without bugs eating it up. Hemp naturally reduces pests, so there’s no need to ever use any chemical pesticides or other harmful substances to ensure that the plant grows. Also, hemp is really good for the soil that it grows in, since it returns 50-70% of the nutrients it takes from the soil. This is amazing since soil nutrient loss is a huge sustainability issue with crop growth. Hemp naturally gives back to the earth, which means it can be grown for long periods of time without the fear of the soil being destroyed in the long term. Want to learn more? A great film to learn more about the importance of the regenerative economy is Kiss the Ground.  
  • Hemp doesn’t use a lot of water to grow- Compared to other fabric plant options, hemp uses significantly less water than bamboo or other natural fiber options. We take water consumption super seriously here at Anact, and in fact, we’ve designed our hemp + organic cotton blend to save 526 days of water. We partnered with Greenstory, a third party sustainability data company, based out of Canada. Before we went into production, we ran a life cycle analysis (LCA) to measure the impact to ensure we were using the most sustainable option.
  • Hemp doesn’t use a lot of land to cultivate for fabric production- Unlike other natural fibers, farmers don’t need to have acres and acres of land to produce hemp. This means that land can be used for other important crops, such as food. This also means that the plot of land dedicated to hemp production can yield double the fabric yield compared to other plants used for fabric. 

 

If you’re looking for towels made from fibers that are sustainable for the long term, aren’t water guzzling and help promote soil health then hemp may be a great option. 

Interested in checking out our Anact starter towel bundle? Click the link here

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CBD Craze

Posted by Brianna Kilcullen on

Hemp. A four letter word (or shall I say plant) that holds so much hope and promise for US farmers, entrepreneurs and the US economy. A plant that has been mislabeled and mistreated for more than 70 years in United States society that many are now betting their whole livelihoods on.

The hemp industry has become synonymous with the same energy exhibited by industries such as cryptocurrency, e-commerce, and blockchain. Driving down your street you’ll see “CBD sold here” claims from convenience stores to retail stores to billboards claiming hemp can solve your anxiety and more. In my opinion, that’s one tall order to put on one plant crop!

That’s why I have gravitated towards connecting with people and businesses that are creating products that use hemp to solve problems instead of jumping on the trendy bandwagon and taking advantage of consumers in this wild west of an industry. Because I do not believe that CBD which is derived from the hemp plant is a one-stop shop for all of your problems. I believe it has performance features that can help you whether it is ingested or used topically but that what it presents is far more alluring - the opportunity to connect with our soil and the future of manufacturing. 

Most people do not know that the US imports more than 99% of our textiles from other countries, including hemp textiles. The hemp that is being grown in the United States is not the variety needed to be grown for textiles. Furthermore, even if it was, we do not have the manufacturing capabilities to process and cut and sew it into garments that would be at a price point that American customers could afford. 

When I designed the Anact towels, I was super excited to get rid of the mildew smell that had long accompanied my plush bath towels made out of conventional cotton (if you did not know, hemp is biostatic which means resists the growth of bacteria due to its molecular structure) but I was also really excited about educating Anact customers and our community as to why we cannot manufacture here and the history of textiles in the United States so we could innovate the future of textiles using hemp. 

Since we are re-introducing hemp for the first time since 2014, there is very little supply which means there is enormous opportunity for innovation, automation, robotics - you name it. The sky's the limit to apply an Elon Musk Tesla style approach to how we manufacture hemp as we know it for whatever industry it will be sold in and tell the story of the farmers, the soil, the process, the factory worker and the problems that the end product is solving for you as the customer. 

That is why I believe it is ultra-important to ask questions and thoroughly research brands selling hemp-based products before you buy from them to ensure that they are here to solve your problems while doing justice to the hemp crop instead of manipulating a plant only to land us back into the capitalist structure that exploits people for profits. 

Hemp is the future - but only if we truly let it be without applying preconceived notions of the past and the thought process of “this is just how we’ve always done it.” Cheers to hemp paving the way for our next iteration of capitalism: conscious capitalism. Welcome, it is nice to meet you. 

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History of Hemp

Posted by Daniel Kapron on

Learn more about the storied history of Hemp
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HEMP

Posted by Brianna Kilcullen on

For most people, a brief scan of LinkedIn, commenting on a post or responding to an invitation to connect counts as the week’s networking effort and activity. Brianna Kilcullen is not most people. When I call Kilcullen mid-October, a cheery voice with a cold greets me on the other end. After two weeks abroad in Europe, attending conferences and meeting potential collaborators, she’s relieved to be back home in Jacksonville, Florida. Vegetables and sleep had been hard to come by during those hectic weeks abroad.

Kilcullen, a sustainability and supply chain consultant and self-described introvert, is no newbie to entrepreneurism nor adaptability. From a stint with the Secret Service to working on international development and land equity in South Sudan and Northern Uganda, to leading supply chain management and corporate social responsibility programs at outdoor industry companies, Kilcullen has woven a varied career. Today, she’s carving out a unique space in one of the most fraught sectors of the outdoor industry: textiles.

In recent years, the outdoor industry has taken a more vocal stance on sustainability and social responsibility. A 2018 report from the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change amplified the urgency of these initiatives, and with textiles, hemp may be the clearest solution.

Kilcullen was first introduced to hemp while traveling in Qingdao, China. “I had the opportunity to see firsthand the impact hemp has had on the Chinese government, military, farmers and economy,” Kilcullen says. “It changed me forever.”

In the U.S., hemp’s status is complicated both legally and culturally, and stakeholders must get comfortable with radical innovation in what is known as a “disruptors’ arena.”

“Hemp is a pretty lethal fiber,” Kilcullen says. “It’s multifaceted in a way that cotton, polyester and nylon are not. You can use the seed for food, the fiber for textiles and the hurd can be used for building homes.”

Hemp is also naturally antibacterial, antimicrobial, UV-resistant and biodegradable. It also bests cotton when it comes to environmental impact. Cotton, the thirstiest crop in the world, uses 24 percent of the world’s insecticides and pesticides. Hemp is a regenerative crop that revitalizes the soil, uses little to no water and doesn’t need insecticides or pesticides.

Kilcullen says, “I worry a bit that we put too much pressure on [hemp’s] ability to reverse the negative consequences we’ve had with cotton production. Will it work? I don’t know.”

That unknown isn’t holding Kilcullen back. A radical spirit with a desire to merge big business with positive change, she founded We the People, a company that makes hemp towels, in 2017. The company’s ethos draws on the history of the crop as integral to the founding of the U.S.—the first flag was sewn from hemp fiber, the Founding Fathers were hemp farmers and the U.S. Constitution was drafted on hemp paper—and Kilcullen’s desire to align business, social and environmental goals.

So where does hemp stand? In December 2018, President Donald Trump signed the 2018 Farm Bill, which includes a provision to allow the legal cultivation of hemp. Ideally, we’ll soon see hemp move from hushed conversations at conferences—legend goes that Giorgio Armani used to make his famous suits exclusively of hemp, though now the fiber is totally taboo—to being widely recognized and utilized as one of the best options for environment-friendly textiles.

We the People’s towels are in development, and the company plans to launch a Kickstarter campaign in 2019. Kilcullen was recently nominated as one of MJBizCon’s 2019 Women to Watch.

She says, “I’m excited to be a part of reintroducing hemp back into the U.S. and to create a transparent industry that makes products to replace cotton and that’s better for people and for the planet.”

This story first appeared in RANGE Magazine Issue 10, which is dedicated to the idea of progress. Get your hands on a copy HERE.

Photo by Emma Pratte for The Highly x High Herstory.

XX Sophie Goodman

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