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Colorado company making hemp paper, packaging


July 31, 2019
By PureHemp Technology

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PureHemp pulp being turned into hemp paper at affiliated paper mill. Photo supplied.

This month, PureHemp Technology celebrated an industry milestone, as a Michigan paper mill converted hemp stalks grown and pulped in Colorado into rolls of hemp paper.

With delivery of the hemp paper rolls, PureHemp has taken a major step to establish the infrastructure to provide hemp business cards, boxes, card stock and packaging materials to companies throughout Colorado and beyond.

PureHemp, a vertically integrated industrial hemp processor, developed a new biorefining technology and operates their own mini hemp refinery that rapidly converts stalks into pulp and other usable co-products. PureHemp has been producing hemp pulp during the past three years and delivering the pulp to Boulder-based Bloomin’ Paper where the pulp has been converted into hand-made paper used for business cards, packaging and poster board.

PureHemp is the first company in the world to produce CBD tinctures from hemp flowers and then use hemp stalks to make boxes for its CBD-based products.

On July 19th, 480 pounds of 100 per cent virgin hemp pulp shipped from Ft. Lupton was used to make six thicknesses of paper. As a conservative first step, the hemp was blended with 40 per cent virgin soft wood pulp and 40 per cent virgin hardwood pulp, creating a 20 per cent hemp paper blend. The six different weights of paper will be used to make a variety of boxes and card stock.

“During the past three years we’ve been making hemp paper from stalks on a small scale,” said Ed Lehrburger, PureHemp’s CEO and a veteran hemp industry leader. “With the growing demand for hemp paper packaging, we’ve contracted with a Michigan paper mill to produce rolls of hemp paper using commercial paper making equipment. The maiden voyage went without a hitch”, reported Lehrburger. “Plans are now underway to produce a 33 per cent blend of hemp paper followed by a 50 per cent blend, later in 2019. Every pound of hemp pulp used to make paper products replaces one pound of tree pulp taken from forests. Hemp grows to its full size in about 120 days compared to trees that are harvested after seven to 30 years to make tree pulp.”

Lehrburger, a founder of PureHemp Technology and a staunch promoter of whole plant utilization, was a founding member and is now Chairman the Colorado Department of Agriculture Industrial Hemp Advisory Committee. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the newly formed statewide initiative known as the Colorado Hemp Advancement and Management Plan (CHAMP).

“We made about two miles-by-22 inches of paper this month. We’re now officially open for business, providing hemp-based paper stock and packaging. The paper came out looking and feeling gorgeous. Now’s the time to establish the hemp processing infrastructure to utilize millions of pounds of hemp stalks grown in Colorado and around the world,” he said.

What distinguishes PureHemp in the hemp business space is its advanced pulping technology, referred to as continuous countercurrent reactor (CCR) technology. Using a self-funded CCR pilot plant, PureHemp has demonstrated its biorefining innovation that rapidly extracts the fundamental constituents of the stalks – the cellulose-rich pulp, lignin and xylose-rich sugars – to make different bio-based products for many industries. In addition to producing pulp for papermaking, the lignin co-product can be made into bioplastics and chemicals and the xylose sugars into xylitol, the healthiest sugar known to man.

“There are so many other benefits to growing hemp than the extraction of CBD from the flowers. Imagine a world where hemp stalks are used to replace so many products currently made from trees and petroleum. What we have accomplished is a critical step to create a healthier and more sustainable planet.”