Hemp plants are good for the earth!

Hemp is an essential part of our business model because reusable bags can be the most sustainable when they are made from hemp! 

Here are some of the reasons why hemp is so amazing:

Hemp doesn't need Pesticides, Herbicides, or Fungicides:  Hemp grows vigorously and requires no pesticides, herbicides, or fungicides due to it’s own production of natural resins and dense growth pattern.

  • Its relative marijuana is sometimes called “weed” which seems appropriate since hemp does seem to grow like a weed: faster, stronger, and without room in between plants for any other plant to compete.


Hemp is drought tolerant:

  • Rainfall is adequate to support the hemp crop so it needs little or no irrigation and will grow in arid regions.
  • If traditional retting is used, where the stalks are left in the fields to be rained on, no extra water is used.
  • If mechanical retting is used, it does require water and most of the water requirements for hemp are in the processing of the fibers, not the growing of the plant.

Using hemp can save precious trees:

  • Hemp is fast growing and can be harvested three to four times annually (every 100 days).
  • Hemp produces four times as much fiber as trees per acre and produces that fiber at least 80 times faster than trees can. That’s 320 times as much fiber per acre than trees!
  • Hemp produces twice the amount of fiber as cotton and six times that of flax.

Hemp is good for the soil:

  • Hemp adds nutrients to the soil, removes toxins, aerates the soil, and prevents soil erosion with it’s long roots.
  • Hemp actually leaves the soil in better condition than before it was planted. This is currently being acknowledged by the U.S. Congress, and, it is reconsidering industrial hemp as a legal crop in the U.S. again.

Hemp is low in green house gas emissions:

  • Organic hemp uses the least amount of energy to produce compared to the most common natural and synthetic fibers.
  • Hemp comes in as the 3rd lowest CO2 producing fiber. Unfortunately it is not yet the lowest because fuel mixes and sources of energy differ between all fiber production and it’s likely that hemp’s primary energy is sourced from coal.

Hemp is cheaper to Grow:

  • Hemp is less expensive to farm because of its minimal growth requirements.
  • Canadian hemp seed farmers are earning 10 times the revenue per acre than American grain farmers.

Hemp has A LOT of essential daily uses:

  • Cloth
  • Paper
  • Bio-degradable plastic
  • Construction materials
  • Fuel
  • Food
  • Medicines



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Myth 1: Hemp is Marijuana.

Truth 1. : Industrial hemp is drug-free.


Myth 2: High THC cannabis can be hidden in a hemp field.

Truth 2: Cross-pollination would ruin the marijuana plants.


Myth 3: It is too difficult to tell the difference between Marijuana and Hemp.

Truth 3: Industrial hemp looks more like bamboo than marijuana, and the other 30 industrial nations that cultivate hemp legally have no problem identifying the types of cannabis in their fields.


Myth 4: The Drug Enforcement Agency regulates illegal drug activity.

Truth 4: The DEA is prohibiting a drug-free plant. There is no drug in the hemp plant. Legalized growing of hemp in the United States would generate thousands of eco-friendly jobs, lessen environmental impacts of transporting hemp overseas, and create many more opportunities to harness the great powers of this plant.




Hemp fabric functions better than plastic, paper and anything synthetic, can be used everyday for 20 years without falling apart and is the most sustainable fiber we know of.  It’s the most sustainable because it grows very quickly (like a weed), requires no pesticide/herbicides, needs little water, replenishes nutrients in the soil and drastically (especially drastic in comparison to plastic, paper and synthetics) REDUCES resource consumption (water, energy, trees), toxic pollution from chemicals and land/ocean devastation created from plastic, paper and synthetic bags.


Hemp grows vigorously and requires no pesticides, herbicides or fungicides due to it’s own production of natural resins and dense growth pattern. It’s relative, marijuana is sometimes called “Weed” which seems appropriate since hemp does seem to grow like a weed: faster, stronger, and without room in between plants for any other weeds.


Rainfall is adequate to support the hemp crop, so it needs little to no irrigation and will grow in arid regions. If mechanical retting is used, it does require a lot of water. Most of the water requirements for hemp are in the processing of the fibers, not the growing of the plant. If traditional retting is used, where the stalks are left in the fields to be rained on, no extra water is used. All fibers, synthetic and natural alike require water.


Hemp is fast growing and yields three to four times annually (every 100 days).

Hemp produces 4-10 times more fiber than trees per acre.  Hemp produces twice the amount of fiber as cotton and six times that of flax per acre .


Hemp adds nutrients to the soil, removes toxins, aerates the soil and prevents soil erosion with it’s long roots.  Hemp actually leaves the soil in better condition than before it was planted. This is currently being acknowledged by the U.S. congress and industrial hemp is becoming legal in the U.S. again.


Yes and Yay! A few states including Colorado have now legalized growing industrial Hemp! The business of growing, processing, manufacturing and investing in hemp is taking off which means it will provide a huge boon to the economy and can become even more sustainable, local and cost effective!


Hemp is less expensive to farm because of its minimal growth requirements. Canadian hemp seed farmers are earning 10 times the revenue per acre than American grain farmers.


Hemp has the qualities we want in a food bag: Sustainable, Breathable, Absorbent, Anti-Microbial, extremely Durable AND as Natural as the Food we are Eating!!!


One example is pictured here: Compressed thermal insulating hemp fiber panels close up view – building plan background

Yes, here’s a short list of Hemp’s many uses:

Cloth (textiles)

Paper and TP

Bio-degradable plastic

Construction/Building materials

Car Parts



Nutritional Supplements


Animal bedding

Construction and Roofs

Bodycare products (the best)

Livestock feed



The Library of Congress found that, “While the hemp paper in volumes 300-400 years old is still strong, 97% of the books, printed between 1900 and 1937 on tree paper, will be useable for less than 50 years.” Hemp paper can be recycled 7 to 8 times, compared with only 3-5 times for wood pulp paper.

The USDA reported in 1916 that an acre of hemp produced as much paper as four acres of trees annually , yet 70% of American forest have been destroyed since 1916.

Making paper from trees is kind of a joke, because trees are made up of only 30% cellulose. The other 70% of the tree must be removed using toxic chemicals, until the cellulose can be formed into paper. The higher the percentage of cellulose in a plant, the better, because fewer chemicals need to be used, and less work needs to be done before the paper can be made. Almost any plant in nature with a strong stalk is better suited to make paper than trees, especially hemp because it can be 85% cellulose.

Hemp makes paper stronger and lasts centuries longer than wood paper, which could be very valuable for people who want to keep written records. Hemp paper does not yellow, crack, or otherwise deteriorate like tree paper does. The acids which are needed for wood paper eventually eat away at the pulp and cause it to turn yellow and fall apart. Because of this publishers, libraries, and archives have to order specially processed acid free paper, but they could just buy hemp paper which already meets their quality standards.

Hemp paper also does not require any bleaching and so does not poison the water with dioxins or chlorine like tree paper mills do. The chemicals involved in making hemp paper are much less toxic, in fact, both paper made from hemp hurd and from the long bast fiber can be made without any chemicals at all, but it takes longer to separate the fiber from the lignin. Making paper from hemp could also eliminate erosion due to logging, reduces topsoil loss, and water pollution caused by soil runoff.


Use Hands On Hemp reusable bags for Bread and Pastries too!


What could be better? Fresh bread and pastries made with wholesome ingredients stored in a reusable cloth sack made from hemp! 




Use “produce” size Hands On Hemp reusable bags for loaves of bread and “bulk” size Hands On Hemp bags for individual servings of pastries, bagels, and muffins that you’re taking on the go. Then, at home use a breadbox to store all your bakery goods. 

It feels so good to eat natural foods and even indulgent pastries without all that extra packaging! Plus bread and bakery goods will last a lot longer, without going  moldy in Hands On Hemp bags.


How to Use your Hands on Hemp reusable bags for bread and bakery items: 

  • STEP ONE: Select your bread and place it into a Hands On Hemp reusable bag. When you select your bread or bakery item don't forget to write down the code or price of the item so you have it ready at the check-out stand. Our Hands On Hemp cloth bags will keep baked goods clean and protected until you eat them or get them home. 


One time a baker was so happy I brought my own bag she gave me a free ½ loaf of bread……………. in a plastic bag! I felt such mixed emotions! 

  • STEP TWO: At the check-out stand give the teller the codes or the sticker for the bread or bakery item. Usually these items are charged by item, not be weight, but if needed, the tier (weight of the bag) is conveniently provided on our bag labels.
  • STEP THREE: At home, put the bread or other bakery item (still in your Hands On Hemp reusable bag) into your breadbox for storage. We keep our bread in a hemp reusable bag even when it's in the breadbox because the cloth bag keeps the bread moist and fresh!
  • STEP FOUR: Feel great about making a choice that reduces plastic! Not using film plastic is also a great choice for your health and the health of your family, since it means no chance of plastic contamination of your foods.

Storing bread and pastries in a breadbox:

Breadboxes are the ideal way to store your bread or bakery items. It's a dark, dry, and cool place that will optimize taste and texture. It is also a great method in order to avoid using plastic and paper bags!

Since we're committed to giving up as much single-use plastic as we possibly can, it was important for us to find a really good way to store bread and other bakery items without plastic.

It was Hands On Hemp owner, Ariel's idea to look into using a good old fashion breadbox. But it wasn't as simple as we thought it would be to find the right kind of breadbox. This is because there are quite a few kinds of bread boxes out there and many of them seem to be more decorative than anything else – plus a lot of breadboxes aren't airtight, which means that the bread still needs to be stored in plastic in order to stay fresh.

After a lot of online research we figured out what would work to store bread and pastries without plastic – we found a bread box for ourselves that works perfectly! The bread and bakery items stay fresh and moist without getting moldy – all without any plastic!

Here's what we figured out about breadboxes:

  1. Clay breadboxes are the best option because they breathe without actually exposing your bread to pests. They also provide an entirely closed container, which is good in a dry climate.
  2. If you live in a humid climate, you may want to make sure your clay breadbox is not glazed on the inside so it breathes more easily.
  3. Sliced bread dries out much faster than whole loaves, so slice your bread only as needed.
  4. Healthy, organic, wholegrain loaves of bread store best in breadboxes and are once again gaining popularity over refined breads that contain many chemical preservatives.
  5. It is generally best not to refrigerate bread. However, if your house is very humid or you prefer your bread to last longer than five or six days, refrigeration can be okay.
  6. Bread dries out more quickly in the fridge and the crust will tend to soften.

Remember, your bread and other bakery items need to breathe and be protected from both dryness and humidity. Placing your bread in Hands On Hemp reusable  cloth bags in a breadbox provides the proper dark environment, humidity, air ventilation, and temperature for best bread storage.


  1. Why Switch to Reusable
  2. All About Hemp
  3. The Politics of Plastic


At Hands On Hemp we're all about finding as many ways as possible to give up the habit of single-use plastic and paper bags.

Any time we see ourselves, our friends or our customers assume that there is no option but using plastic, it is a great time to look around for another solution.

We do a lot of research, plus look at our own lives, and question our assumptions about how we do things.

If you walk into the bread aisle of a grocery store what do you see? Lots and lots of bread stored in lots and lots of plastic! Even if you go to the bakery section to buy freshly made bread or bakery items, it's usually given to you in plastic. What to do?


Many natural food markets and larger supermarkets have an in-house bakery section. We've found that the bakery section is always happy to let us use our Hands On Hemp reusable bags for our bread and bakery goods – we just need to ask!

The large supermarket near our home has fresh, unsliced bread for sale but it's always already bagged in plastic. But we discovered that if we show up early in the morning, before it has all been bagged, they will allow us to buy bread unpackaged in our hemp bags. All it took was a little research and not settling for the statuesque.



  • TIP: Hands On Hemp reusable bags are also great for sandwiches and other snacks. Use them for lunches at work, school and on trips.
  • TIP: Kids and snacks go together….so does a bit of mess! Hands On Hemp reusable bags are a great way to carry snacks plus they are a really good napkin for easy clean-up of messy faces and fingers!
  • TIP: Hemp reusable bags also work for carrying non-food items like kids toys, extra diapers, and just about anything else you can think of.

  • TIP: Hands On Hemp reusable bags wash up easily in the washer and dryer. No special instructions needed.
  • TIP: Keep plenty of your Hands On Hemp reusable bags on hand in your car, bike sac or large shopping bags. You don't want to get stuck without them and have to abandon your desired item or use a plastic bag!!! You’ll need them for all of your produce, bulk, and bakery shopping and storage needs.


Storing Bulk food items without using plastic!

Use your Hands On Hemp reusable bulk bags for bulk foods such as beans, grains, nuts, granola, flours, and dried fruits!

Buying food items in bulk is a great environmental step towards reducing single-use packaging! Most natural grocery stores, and more and more traditional supermarkets, have a bulk foods section that is stocked with beans, grains, cereals, flours, dried fruits, nuts, and a lot more. Since these foods come in large bulk bins, instead of in small single-use packages, buying in bulk is a simple (and usually less expensive) way to choose not to use packaging.

Unfortunately, the next step is often to put that bulk food right back into packaging – into a single-use plastic or paper bag! Since most stores only offer plastic or paper single-use bags for taking home bulk food items, it's really up to the consumer to make a different choice.

That's where Hands on Hemp reusable bulk bags come into the picture! How about using a reusable bag instead of a single-use plastic or paper bag to bring home your bulk food? Hands On Hemp Bags will help you carry home all your bulk food items while at the same time helping you make a choice that supports the environment.



  • STEP ONE: Scoop or drop any bulk items into your Hands On Hemp reusable bags. Any dry bulk item works great in these hemp cloth bags. Even bulk products such as flour, bulk tea, and dry dog and cat food are great to carry home in these bags. (Add picture of scooping of each item listed)
  • STEP TWO: Pull the draw strings tight on your hemp reusable bag and wrap the strings around the top of the bag and into a simple knot. This method ensures that the bulk foods will not spill out of the bag.
  • STEP THREE: Copy the code for the bulk item onto your shopping list or supplied sticker or twist tie. We try to use only one sticker or twist tie for all of our bulk items, saving paper and other materials.
  • STEP FOUR: When checking out at the grocery store give the teller the full Hands On Hemp bags to weigh being sure to have the tier (bag weight) removed from the price. The tier weight is listed on the tag inside each bag.
  • STEP FIVE: At home, store bulk food items that will be enjoyed within two weeks right in the Hands On Hemp bags.
  • STEP SIX: At home, for bulk items that will be kept for over two weeks, make sure to transfer your bulk items into clean, airtight, glass jars. This way they will remain fresh longer and be safe from pests.
  • STEP SEVEN: Hang your Hands On Hemp reusable bulk bags to dry after each use. As needed, simply machine wash and dry with your other cloth towels whenever they need cleaning. These hemp bags get even softer, and nicer to use, the more you wash them!
  • STEP EIGHT: Return some of your Hands On Hemp bags to your car or larger shopping bags so you can fill them up again next time you go to the store.




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It's our goal at Hands On Hemp to replace single-use plastic bags of all shapes and sizes with our hemp reusable bags.

We created our smaller reusable hemp bags to be used for carrying home foods that are sold in bulk at your local grocery or health food stores.

Our bulk reusable bags are just the right size for bulk foods and can hold up to seven cups. They are also great for storing bulk foods for a few weeks. If you plan to keep your bulk food for longer than two or three weeks it's best to transfer the bulk items into glass jars.

  • TIP: Keep plenty of Hands On Hemp reusable bulk bags on hand in your car, bike basket, or large shopping bags. You don't want to get stuck without them and have to abandon your desired item or use a plastic bag!!!
  • TIP: We find we can use our bulk sized reusable bags as a perfect replacement for smaller plastic sandwich bags. You can use hands on hemp bulk bags for sandwiches and snacks at school, work, for travel, and hiking trips. Plus, they can also be used as a handy reusable napkin when you're done eating – just try that with a plastic bag!
  • Tip: Hands On Hemp reusable Bulk bags hold up to 7 cups! This is enough to fill up a ½ gallon sized glass jar!


Storing Fruit in Hands On Hemp reusable bags

Store Fruit with Hands On Hemp Bags or without any bag at all!

Fruit is actually very low-maintenance to store – at least for fresh consumption. Fruits seem to preserve itself naturally better then vegetables since they are not as affected by the factors of temperature, air circulation, and moisture.

Think about it – citrus, avocados, bananas, mangos, kiwis – they all have peels on them that protect them while keeping them fresh and juicy. I like to think of their peels as their own bags made by nature.



We store most of our fruits in the fridge because we like them cold and doing so helps most fruit last longer.

Simply place fresh fruit directly in fridge or in Hands On Hemp reusable bags and store the fruit anywhere in your refrigerator. (It’s a good idea to save the crisper drawers mostly for veggies.)

If you want to see your fruit, simply leave the hemp bag open at the top. With most fruit it is not necessary to keep moisture in the bag.



Store any and all ripe fruit that you buy, in the fridge for longer lasting storage.

  • Grapes and Cherries are best if washed, placed in Hands On Hemp bags and stored in the crisper drawers.
  • Any opened piece of fruit should be stored in glass tupperware or face down on a little plate in the fridge. Avoid using plastic bags and containers.
  • Ripe fruit that you’d like to preserve as long as possible is best stored in the fridge.
  • Store all fruit that you like to eat cold, in the fridge.
  • The exception is bananas – they go brown if stored in the fridge, but can be frozen if peeled first.


  • Berries are one of the most delicate fruits.
  • They are best eaten right off the plant, within a few days of buying/picking or frozen.
  • Do NOT wash berries before storing in fridge. Wash only the amount you plan to eat at each sitting and keep the others dry and they will last a lot longer.
  • If you plan to freeze berries, you can wash them all beforehand.


Store any fruit that is not yet ripe, in a bowl or directly on the counter. It is best to limit direct sunlight. Bananas need to be stored at room temperature or they get brown skins and a mealy texture.

Some fruits best stored at room temperature:

  • Bananas
  • Anything you like to look at on your counter
  • Anything you’ll be eating soon
  • Anything you’d like to ripen more

Transfer any fully ripened fruit you’d like to preserve for a few more days into the fridge (except bananas).


You can freeze any fruit you’d like. If it has a peel, you’ll want to peel it off, possibly cutting the fruit into pieces and then freezing them in an airtight container – ideally something non-plastic like glass tupperware or mason jars. Metal tupperware is also good.

  • Frozen bananas can be blended up to make a dairy free frozen dessert.
  • Buy fresh and local fruits at the farmers market to freeze for those cold winter months.
  • Use the ice cube holders to freeze slices of fruit in coconut water or juice. A great summer snack!





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Use Hands on Hemp reusable bags to bring home your fruits from the store or farmers market.

  • Place your fruit into the bag

  • Fold the top of the bag over or use the drawstring to close bag. Folding the top of the bag over makes it easier to see what is inside at check out.
  • Pay for the Fruit, not the Bag.  The tare (weight of the bag) is listed on a tag either inside the bag or on the front label. Show this weight to the teller to deduct the bag weight from the fruit weight. 

  • Be proud to know that you have NOT participated in the mindless usage of single use plastic bags!!
  • Enjoy fresh and vital fruits with no residue from plastic!!


  • Hang your bags to dry after usage and as needed simply machine wash and dry with your other cloth towels.

  • Return some of your Hands On Hemp bags to your car or grocery shopping bags so you can fill them up again next time you go to the store.

You’ll need Hands On Hemp reusable bags for all of your produce, fruit and bulk items!


A Sustainability Pep talk: As conscientious consumers we can change how companies do business!

Think you can’t live without plastic and paper?

It’s not exactly an easy task when 99.9 % of everything in the stores is packaged in one material or the other. The good news is that we, as conscientious consumers, can change how companies do business by changing our buying habits.

When we become aware of an issue we’d like to change we often feel rather powerless against the odds. With this particular issue, though, your daily choice to use excellent quality reusable bags sends a direct message to stores and generates an immediate positive impact on the environment.  One less plastic or paper bag used is one less that will harm our planet, oceans, and animals.  As consumers, we control the market and we have the ability to change today!

The kind of change we're talking about does not require calling senators and protesting all day. It does require a deep commitment to understand that your small, daily actions do matter and when you use good quality, compostable, and responsibly sourced reusable bags, you are making a stand to be part of the solution, and not part of the problem.  

Remember, packaging consists of one third of all municipal waste.  That is a lot more packaging than is necessary if we are eating fresh, healthy, local, home-made foods and using reusable bags!!!

Throughout our website we elucidate the problems associated with plastic, paper, and single-use consumption. We hope what you’ve learned will inspire you to make different, more compassionate choices for the earth.   In our solutions pages we provide you with some concrete actions you can take to begin making a difference regarding consumption habits today – no matter who you are or what you do. 

Most of you will already have many of these solutions wired into your daily acts of intentionality.  We encourage you to keep assessing your daily impacts and doing what you can to live according to your deepest values and give it your all!

Adventures in Source Reduction                                

Below are a sprinkling of some of the ways we are making our lives more environmentally compatible by REDUCING our consumption. 

Use Reusable Bags:

Obviously we use Hands On Hemp reusable bags for our everyday edibles – we can't remember the last time we took a plastic bag from the grocery or any other store. This feels awesome, and now that we see the problem of wasteful consumption habits, there is a lot more work to be done!

Do you have ways you've changed your life and reduced your waste? If so please blog us at our Show Me Sustainable blog site, or find us on our Hands On Hemp Facebook page, and let us know of your adventures too!

Remember Our Reusable Bags!!!:

When we're out doing demos for our reusable produce and bulk bags, or just talking to friends about our business, the topic of remembering your reusable bags comes up.  Even we forgot ours too sometimes until we made the commitment to never accept single-use plastic bags.

Once we made this commitment our memory improved quickly!  We weren't likely to repeat carrying our groceries out in our arms, pockets, or shirts.  If we forgot our Hands On Hemp reusable bags for produce, we carried out the lettuce, greens, or other fruit and veggies wet and in our hands. A couple of times we did without the bulk items we wanted to buy since we had no "green" way to carry them home. Now we actually never forget our bags. It's become a new habit – like wearing shoes or shirt when leaving the house.  

Try making the commitment and see for yourself!  

Plastic liners:

We found out that we don’t need to line trashcans with plastic bags! So now we just put our trash directly into the can. We're not bragging, but since we're vegan and we compost, there is never any messy mess in the trash that would warrant a plastic bag. Just remember, nothing warrants plastic. Plastic kills. For those of you who do eat meat, you can store any uneaten meat waste in freezer-proof glass Tupperware containers in the freezer until trash day. Voila, no plastic needed.


I tend to blow my nose a lot.    I use a lot of toilet paper in this process (recycled, of course). But still, we I can fill up a whole trash bucket with tissues. So my commitment was to buy a few handkerchiefs made out of soft organic cotton and…. problem solved.  The other solution to this problem is to make sure we compost our tissues when we use paper ones.




Pet Food Cans:

At a local sustainability festival we heard a guest speaker talk about how our astronomical consumption of pet food cans could circle the earth several times over. The actual numbers didn’t stick but the overwhelming feeling of horror did.

We have a cat and a dog, and they are not vegan like we are, although our cat does eat a lot of vegetables off of our plate!  Today he at several spoonfuls of carrot, brown rice soup!  Anyhow, we thought it would be healthier for our cat, not any more expensive and certainly less wasteful if we replaced part of his canned food with rotisserie chicken. We know it sounds deluxe, but after one week of that our cat was sick of it and wanted his canned food back again. So, we are still working on creating an alternative to canned cat and dog food.

Refilling Shampoo, lotion, dish soaps and other bottles:

We now refill as much as we can by buying in bulk using our own glass jars. Many things can be refilled like moisturizer, soap, honey, agave, nut butters, laundry detergent, etc…Most natural food grocery stores have a section for this, and many more traditional stores are beginning to offer bulk, too. There are also more and more stores popping up that only sell in bulk with no packaging. If you hear of a store like this around, please shop there—it's a great way to support an environmentally sound business that is trying to go against the flow of the packaging momentum.

Buy bulk beans, nuts, grains and other food items.

Our Hands On Hemp bulk bags are designed for this purpose and we have an entire section on our website about how to use them.  Buying these foods in bulk is a huge way to reduce your packaging waste. Plus it's so much better for you to cook your own beans and grains from dried sources instead of canned or packaged. It's really simple, less expensive, and it saves you from the additives and sugars found in many canned and packaged varieties.


Tea Bag Accessories:

Our favorite tea company has been "shown up" by Celestial Seasonings (whose teas I also like, especially their “Tension Tamer” and "Roastaroma" herbal teas.) Celestial Seasonings has stopped using individual tea wrappers, strings, tags, and staples. We always pull all that useless stuff off before we even use the tea bag anyway. In conserving those things, Celestial Seasoning saves 3.5 million pounds of waste from entering landfills every year! You can imagine this must save Celestial Seasonings a good amount of money, too! It’s time we call our favorite tea company and request they change. It is also possible to buy herbs in bulk and to make your own teas.

Shopping at the local Farmers Market

The best way to give up a lot of plastic and packaging is to buy fresh, local foods or grow your own! Not only does it cut down on packaging, it also drastically reduces the carbon footprint caused by shipping food across the planet. The food you'll find at your local farmers market is fresh, healthy, in season, and sustainable. Most places have some kind of farmers market these days—check online to find locations and times around you. One issue we've found at our farmers market is that there is still a huge amount of plastic bags being used. This seems crazy to us, and we're always very proud to put our fresh produce into our own hemp bags, but we want to make a difference for as many people as possible! We sell our bags at our local farmers market and you can buy them here and take them with you to yours. (If you think our bags would be a great addition to your farmers market, contact us, give us the details, and we'll see what we can do.)

Taking your own to-go containers when you eat out:

If you're like we are, it's very common to get too much food to finish in the large servings at many restaurants. We now bring our own glass containers with us so we don't have to bring food home in the plastic or Styrofoam containers many places use. We have also found that we can do the same when we order takeout. It might take a bit more time, since we have to take the containers to the restaurant and wait for the order, but isn't it worth it in the long run? We also try to use our own glass jars for ordering drinks to-go. Sometimes this works out great. Unfortunately, sometimes the store or restaurant can't use our jars for health code reasons, which is a bummer. Still we keep trying and hopefully we'll encourage some stores to make some changes.

Start your own veggie garden and fruit trees:


Oh, my gosh, we love our garden! It's so amazing to walk outside and pick fresh greens and veggies for our daily food. It's a great way to be outside and contact the earth, too. Last year we had too much to eat ourselves, so we gave it away to our neighbors and friends. But, there were still a lot of veggies that went bad and got composted before we could eat them. This year we're going to give away what we don't need to food collections that feed the homeless and others in need in our community.  Our fruit tree gave us an abundance of peaches this year!   Try to make your own garden—we really think you'll love it. 

 What Else Can I Do? Lots!

  • Notice how much you use and make commitments to those changes you know you'll be willing and able to live up to. Remember every little bit helps so do what you can and see what you learn from there. Our experience has been that one change inspires us to discover and make other needed changes.

  • ReUse (For example, by using our Hands On Hemp bags again and again and again and again and again!) Plus challenge yourself to find other ways to reuse more. 

  • Recycle as much packaging as possible. What about not buying food and other things in packaging that can't be recycled? This is another way to make our purchases count while supporting the businesses that do their part for the environment. 

  • Buy Local. It's great for the local economy and really important for the welfare of the environment. 

  • Compost your food items, tea bags, coffee grounds, tissues, leaves, and other yard waste. It is really crazy to imagine trash bags full of food items piled in landfills, but this happens all the time. 

  • Get Outside!

If you're not in touch with nature and this amazing beautiful planet we all are lucky enough to live on, it's much more difficult to be in touch with why we need to make changes in the first place. Unfortunately, for most of us, it's pretty easy to lose touch, and our culture isn't necessarily helping. Even living very near nature in Boulder, Colorado, we find that we really have to stay committed. So get outside, look around, and breathe! 







 Simply Noticing (At Home)

 One of the most amazing things about having an environmentally solution-oriented business is how deeply this has impacted our own lives.

It's very important to us that we "walk our talk" and this means we're always looking for how we can live a life that does the least harm.

We started to pay attention to how much trash we accumulate after just one week of living our fairly modest life style.

Even as we try to do the right things, and use less, we have been stunned and humbled to face our own personal levels of consumption.

Walking our talk means change, in our lives, right now. So, this is what we’ve been doing in order to build our consciousness around this topic (since we all know it can be easier to blame others then to change ourselves):

  • Pay attention to how much trash we create in one trash week. We assess what is the major contributor and try to find ways to get the same item without the packaging waste.
  • Notice how many recyclable containers we use and also assess what they are. Even if containers can be recycled we know it's best if we reduce these since they still take a lot of resources to make them and recycle them.
  • Notice how much compost/food waste is leftover that we saved from the dump. Composting food scraps is amazing and gives nutrients back to our garden.  Trying to prepare food so there are no uneaten leftovers is optimal to reduce wasting food. 

Take some time to pay attention to your household consumption. What do you find when you do this? Can you see areas where you can make changes in your life style?




 We know this isn't a common topic for a website, but it's important since there's a crazy situation going on–at least in the USA! Do you have any idea how many bags of dog poop get thrown away every day? A LOT! A WHOLE LOT!

Think about it! Dog poop is a naturally compostable substance but when it's stored in plastic bags (usually inside another big garbage bag) it won't break down for a long time. Can you imagine all this poop just sitting around—how can this make sense?

When we first began selling our bags we only had a cat. We'd figured out a good way to reduce waste with our cat because we just put his kitty litter waste straight into the garbage can, which means we didn't create any additional waste at all.

As we talked with people about our Hands On Hemp reusable produce bags, we'd often hear the excuse that the person would love to give up plastic produce bags but they use these bags for their doggie poops.

We thought it was a pretty bad excuse until we got our own sweet, amazing dog and we discovered how difficult it is to come up with a solution for picking up dog poop on walks.

As soon as we brought our dog home from the humane society, we began doing research online for a good environmental solution to plastic bags for picking up poop. We were sure we'd find something, but honestly there wasn't much out there.

It seems like almost everyone has stopped at the compostable plastic bags. This is a better solution compared to traditional plastic, but not really that great. 

So far here's what we've come up with to reduce the plastic bag usage for dog poop:

  • We bought a small pooper scooper that's easy to carry with us. When we take our dog out to the park across the street in the morning and evening to poop, we just carry it with us. Sometimes we pick up the poop and leave the scooper against a tree while we take our dog on a walk. It's easy to pick it up on the way home to toss into our trash.

  • As with our cat, we just put the poop directly in the trash container without putting it in plastic first. It's not any smellier than if we put it in plastic first, and it's way easier too.

  • There's a lot of great information and products online for how to compost dog poop. It can be used for flower gardens and it is simple to do. We haven't created our own doggie poop compost yet, but now that spring is here, our goal is to get this going really soon.

  •  We did find one website that offered a paper box solution to picking up dog waste on walks. We haven't tried it yet, and we're not excited about using paper, but we're going to test it out. We'll give an update on our Show Me Sustainable blog once we know more.

  • Sometimes we use paper bags and newspapers to pick up poop. It's a bit messier but it works.

  • For now I'm sorry to say we do use plastic bags for picking up poop on walks in the forest. We had an old pile of plastic bags left over from a few years ago when we started our business and committed to change. This pile of plastic bags is almost gone so it's time to find a better solution. We'll let you know what we discover!

Do you have a solution to using plastic bags for picking up dog poop? If you do contact us and let us know. We'll test it out and put on our website if we like it!







Use Hands On Hemp reusable produce bags to optimize your vegetable storage!

Yes! You can and should actually STORE your vegetables in Hands On Hemp reusable produce bags! After all, what’s the use of a reusable bag for produce if it's only good for carrying food home in it and once you’re at home you still have to store your vegetables in a plastic bag?

The reason our Hands On Hemp reusable produce bags work so well for storing vegetables is because they provide the right combination of optimal storage characteristics!

  • Optimal moisture retention – you want to keep the water in the veggies so they stay crisp and “alive.”

  • Optimal air circulation – too much trapped moisture creates conditions for rotting.

Freshness, air ventilation, moisture, and temperature are the key elements that determine the outcome in storing vegetables and fruits.

When you think about it, it's really pretty important how you store your veggies!

Here are some reasons why we think choosing Hands On Hemp reusable produce bags is the best choice for you:

  1. Plastic bags of any kind can suffocate and rot your food, and paper bags get soggy and split when wet.

  2. Synthetic reusable produce bags made of mesh are useless for storage since they allow too much air circulation and don’t absorb excess moisture. They’re not great for carrying wet produce home either unless you want a wet bag of groceries.

  3. Putting veggies straight into the crisper drawer is the method some people have come up with to stop using plastic. We've tried it, too. It's a great way to reduce plastic, but it isn't the greatest way to keep your veggies crisp and fresh. This is one of the many reasons we created Hands On Hemp reusable produce bags.

  4. Storing vegetables in our reusable hemp bags is Super Easy! You don’t need different kinds of bags for different kinds of veggies. This is a myth generated by companies trying to sell multiple bag products that don’t work and confuse everyone. All you need is just a natural fiber bag that is the proper weight and material.

Our Hands On Hemp reusable produce bags keep veggies fresh in the fridge for up to 3 weeks!


How to use Hands On Hemp bags:

Store your veggies:

  1. Inside the Hands On Hemp Bag
  2. Inside the Refrigerator
  3. Inside the Crisper Drawers
  4. Hang bags to air dry between uses and wash as needed.

It is very important to WASH ALL VEGETABLES and THEN put them back in the hemp reusable produce bags and place these bags in the crisper drawers. Place your vegetables into the produce bags while they are still damp – this actually helps keep them fresh and crisp. Washing your vegetables before storing makes an enormous difference. You don't want to miss this step.

Exceptions to the washing before storing rule: eggplant, potato, squash, basil. Water is a detriment to the storage of these veggies. Just place them in the bags dry.

Our essential technique of rinsing vegetables before storing also has an added benefit. If you wash and clean your veggies before storing, when you are ravenously hungry and need to whip food up fast – your veggies will already be clean! It is also a great way to make sure you eat your veggies and not that party size bag of potato chips.


Most Veggies:

We give specific instructions for some different kinds of veggies below, but the fact is pretty much ALL veggies including celery, asparagus, green beans, brussel sprouts, artichokes, cabbage, etc., wash and store great in our Hands On Hemp reusable produce bags using our basic method described above.

If you have a vegetable that isn't listed here, try the steps above or find a veggie listed below that is close in family, and use that method. We are also always available to give advice and suggestions. Contact us and we'll get back to you as soon as we can.

Root Vegetables: Carrots, Parsnips, Turnips, Rutabaga etc:

  • Root vegetables prefer dark, cold, and moist.
  • Rinse, place in your Hands On Hemp reusable produce bags and put near the bottom of the crisper drawers with other produce on top so they remain protected from light and drying out.
  • Root veggies can last a long time but will shrivel prematurely if they are not kept in a environment that is moist enough. The ideal temperature is 32-40 degrees F.

Leafy Greens and Herbs: Kale, Spinach, Chard, Lettuce, Cilantro etc:

  • These greens love Hands on Hemp reusable produce bags!
  • Wash leafy greens and while still moist put them right into the bags.
  • This will help keep your greens fresh and crisp and the hemp cloth will absorb and dry out any excess moisture.


Tomatoes can go either way. You can wash or not before storing.

Store at room temperature unless you plan to keep them for more than a week, or like them eaten cold.

Technically speaking, storing tomatoes in the refrigerator is not actually recommended as the cooler temperatures can reduce flavor and cause mushiness. But, I still do it to keep them longer.


  • Eggplant is one of those vegetables that are best eaten sooner (within 1 day) than later (can last about 4 days).
  • Eggplant is best stored at temperatures between 50-54 degrees F.
  • Do NOT rinse before storing.
  • Simply place dry eggplant in Hands On Hemp reusable produce bag and put in fridge.







Potatoes really need to be stored appropriately. Exposure to light, or too warm or cold a temperature, will cause the potato to produce a poisonous toxin called solanine as a defense mechanism, although, you’d have to eat 4.5 pounds of potatoes to be very affected by the poison. Green discoloration is one sign of the poison, although is not always an indicator. Most of the poison tends to accumulate in the skin, so peeling is good if you can salvage the potato at all. Avoid rinsing potatoes before storing.

  • Store in these hemp bags.
  • Place them in a dry, dark, cool place like a pantry, cupboard, or cellar.
  • Ideal temperature is between 45-50 degrees F.
  • Refrigerators are too cold for potatoes causing sweetness and greenness.
  • Store them up to 1 month.
  • Remove any potato from the bunch that may have shriveled or sprouted.
  • Avoid storing potatoes with onions as their gases can spoil each other.

Winter Squash:

They are best stored at room temperature, between 55-60 degrees F.



They are best stored in glass jars in the fridge.



Keep it simple and store veggies in the fridge in your Hands On Hemp reusable produce bags. Just wash any vegetable you like to eat and hence buy (or grow) before storing them in your reusable produce bags and put them in the crisper drawers.


  • ONE
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We love our Hands On Hemp reusable produce bags! It's our business, but it's also our way of life, so we never use anything else.


Since we live a vegan life style obviously we eat lots of fruit and vegetables, and we like our veggies crisp and fresh. Along the way we've learned a lot about the best way to store all different kinds of vegetables.

Here are our tips and tricks for storing veggies – we hope that they help you, too!


TIP 1: If you want to extend the life of your veggies, check on them each week and if they look like they are wilting, rinse them under some water again and they’ll perk back up.

TIP 2: For vegetables like kale or parsley, you can cut about ½ inch off the bottom of their stems (like with flowers) before you rinse them off – this gives them more ways to absorb that water.

TIP 3: Every bit of time most veggies are at room temperature they lose a little life. We minimize the time we leave them on the counter after using some for cooking. As for the freshness factor – you’re veggies will last longer and taste better if you get them fresh from your own garden.

TIP 4: Some veggies like squash or fruits like bananas store better at room temperature.

TIP 5: Keep plenty of your Hands On Hemp reusable produce bags and bulk bags on hand in your car, bike, or large shopping bags. You don't want to get stuck without them and have to abandon your desired item or use a plastic bag!!! You’ll need them for all of your produce and bulk items!


TIP 6: Next time you’re shopping, look at the produce section and see which vegetables they are constantly misting with water – that is the same effect you create when you rinse your veggies at home and place them in our breathable reusable produce bags. You will also see the few exceptions there that you don’t want to get wet for storage such as eggplant and basil.


TIP 7: Carrots grown in your garden store better if you DO NOT wash off the dirt until you want to eat them. All carrots in stores that don’t have dirt, last longer if you do wash them.


Fruits tend to produce more ethylene which makes vegetables go bad more quickly. If your mission is to ripen those green bananas, you can speed that up by putting them in a bag with some high ethelyne producing fruit like apples.

A few other high ethelyene producing fruits are bananas, avocados, cantaloupe, and pears.


Transporting fruits and veggies and placing them in multiple situations in which they are exposed to each other’s ethelyne gases gives us the end result of less longevity once we get them in our homes.

The Ocean Overload – What about all the plastic in the ocean?

Most of us have heard about the problem of plastic in the oceans, but, how much does it actually touch us?

Do we ever ask ourselves what this mess of plastics, and other human trash found in the oceans, might mean about our deepest relationship to the planet or to ourselves?  

The impact of plastic in the ocean is a big question, and is still being researched (and argued) by ecologists, scientists, marine biologists, and others across the planet.


What we do know is that two of the most common causes of habitat loss in the oceans are from oil spills and industrial and residential waste, which include plastics washing into the ocean.

Most people don’t understand how delicate marine systems are in our global ecosystem.

The damage to, or removal of, a single species in an ecosystem can significantly impact many other species on the land and in the water, or even devastate the ecosystem. Since the oceans cover such a large percentage of the earth and are interconnected ultimately as one body of water, what happens in one part of the ocean can impact other parts very quickly.

The accumulated plastics and trash found in the oceans devastate wildlife, beaches, and nature preserves, and accumulate in “ocean landfills.”

Some of the trash is decades old. Some beaches are buried under five to ten feet of trash, while other beaches are riddled with “plastic sand,” millions of grain-like pieces of plastic that are practically impossible to clean up.

Here are some facts about the impact of plastic in the oceans:

  • Plastic particles in the ocean are mistaken for food and eaten by sea birds and other sea creatures.
  • Plastic bags floating in the oceans, and other plastic waste washed into the oceans get wrapped around living coral reefs, causing them to smother and die.
  • Plastic pieces can attract and hold hydrophobic elements like PCB and DDT up to one-million times background levels. As a result, floating plastic is like a poison pill.
  • The United Nations Environment Program estimated in 2006 that every square mile of ocean hosts 46,000 pieces of floating plastic (source: UN Environment Program).
  • Of the more than 200 billion pounds of plastic the world produces each year, about 10 percent ends up in the ocean. Seventy percent of that eventually sinks, damaging life on the ocean floor (source: Greenpeace).
  • The rest floats; much of it ends up in gyres, large circulating ocean currents, and form massive garbage patches within these currents, with some plastic eventually washing up on shores in coastal areas.

Massive ocean landfills are one of the devastating results of plastics in the ocean!

Four-fifths of marine trash comes from land. It is made up of 90% plastic and collects together to form a giant trash mass.

The most common marine trash mass of this type is known as the Pacific Garbage Patch. This huge mass of trash is the largest landfill in the world, two times the size of Texas with 7 billion pounds of plastic, floating in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

The Pacific Garbage Patch is in a gyre. A gyre is a large circular ocean current, created by high-pressure air currents that pick up anything nearby, gradually pushing everything towards the center of the gyre, in a clockwise or counter-clockwise spin.

The North Pacific Garbage patch is most talked about, probably because it is the largest, but there are actually gyres, and hence garbage patches, in every ocean body. There are similar areas in the South Pacific, the North and South Atlantic, and the Indian Ocean. In addition, the Pacific Garbage Patch has actually given birth to two large masses of ever-accumulating trash, known as the Western and Eastern Pacific Garbage Patches, sometimes collectively called the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

“25 percent of our planet or 40% of our oceans is a toilet that never flushes” says Captain Charles Moore, the scientist who discovered the Pacific Garbage Patch.

Where is all this plastic in the ocean coming from?

  • As part of the Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup, on a single day in 2007, nearly 400,000 volunteers around the world picked up more than 6 million pounds of trash. A majority of the items were single-use disposable plastic items, such as plastic bags and Styrofoam containers.
  • Each year, enough trash—most of it plastic—floats down the Los Angeles River to fill the Rose Bowl two stories deep. (Los Angeles Times, “Altered Oceans”)
  • Since water keeps the plastic cool and algae blocks ultraviolet rays, every little piece of plastic manufactured in the past 50 years that has flowed into the ocean is still out there somewhere. (Research Triangle Institute)
  • Plastic pieces outweigh surface zooplankton in the Central North Pacific by a factor of 6 to 1. (Algalita Marine Research Foundation)
  • Plastic bags are among the 12 items of debris found most often in coastal cleanups. (Center for Marine Conservation)

What can we do about the plastic in the ocean?
Well, first of all, we can do everything we can to stop using plastics that could end up in the ocean.

We can make the simple change to stop using single-use plastic bags, by replacing them with sustainable options like Hands On Hemp reusable bags, and we can try to always buy products in glass and other sustainable materials.

We can make conscious and consistent choices away from plastic whenever possible.

We can question the materialism of our western culture and make changes in our own life while encouraging and supporting others making changes in theirs.

We can also support organizations that help with ocean cleanup.


The oceans of the earth cover 70% of our planet and hold about 97% of the earth’s water supply.

The oceans are actually all one connected body of water, divided into sections.

This huge body of water serves many functions, especially affecting the weather and temperature of our entire planet and surrounding atmosphere.

The oceans moderate the earth’s temperature by absorbing incoming solar radiation and storing it as heat energy – most of the solar energy from the sun is stored in the ocean.

The always moving ocean currents distribute this heat energy around the globe. This heats the land and air during winter and cools it during summer.

The ocean is home to a vast number of living creatures with more than 200,000 known of, and much of the ocean floor still unexplored.

By volume the oceans make up 99% of the earth’s living space – it is the largest living space known in our universe that is full of living organisms.

The ocean is responsible for most of the earth’s oxygen production. Oxygen is produced as a byproduct of photosynthesis by phytoplankton (single celled sea plants) and algae (multicelled sea plants).

Considering the Earth is more than 70% water and phytoplankton are found throughout the ocean, it’s not surprising that they make up 90% of the Earth’s oxygen production.

The ocean soothes and calms us with the pulse of its waves. It gives us a sense of perspective and reminds us of how vast and unknown is our exsistence and that of the universe.

For more pictures, videos, facts, and a full understanding please see the 5 part LA Times series “Crisis in the Seas”


Replacing paper all around you: Junk mail is from trees

Finding alternatives to paper bags is only one issue. There are so many other ways we can make changes to reduce or replace paper.


How much junk mail ends up in your mail box each week and what do you do with it?

If you’re like most of us you recycle or just throw away most of it without much more than a glance. What a waste!

This paper waste from junk mail is a symptom of the societal consumerism that is a huge contributor to the environmental crisis our planet is in the midst of. This waste can also been found in offices, from printed paper usage, boxes used for packaging, free shopping catalogs, and anywhere paper is used a single time for no real purpose.

Most of us would agree that junk mail is a waste of resources. Here are some facts and figures to back this up:

  • The average adult receives 41 pounds of junk mail each year. 44% goes to the landfill unopened.
  • On average, we receive 16 pieces of junk mail a week, compared to only 1.5 personal letters.
  • The majority of household waste consists of junk mail.
  • 40% of the solid mass that makes up our landfills is paper and paperboard waste.
  • Junk mail inks have high concentrations of heavy metals, making the paper difficult to recycle.
  • Transporting junk mail costs $550 million a year.
  • Lists of names and addresses used in bulk mailings reside in mass data-collection networks. Your name is typically worth 3 to 20 cents each time it is sold.(From 41pounds.org)

We can all take steps to make a difference in the amount of paper used in our homes and work places.

Finding ways to go without paper and replace paper is easy and our planet and its creatures will thank you!



Other ways to reduce and replace paper by reducing your junk mail:

  1. www.41pounds.org is an organization that can eliminate up to 80-95% of junk mailings for you by contacting dozens of direct marketers on your behalf.
  2. Register with the Mail Preference Service of the Direct Marketing Association (DMA). DMA will list you in its database in the “Do Not Mail” category. Direct marketers are not required to check the database, but most companies that send large volumes of bulk mail do use the DMA service.
  3. Go to OptOutPreScreen.com, which can enable you to remove your name from lists that mortgage, credit card and insurance companies use to mail you offers and solicitations. It’s a centralized website run by the four major credit bureaus in the United States: Equifax, Experian, Innovis, and TransUnion.
  4. Contact companies that send your junk mail and asked to be removed.
  5. For help in reducing your junk mail, websites, such as unsubscribe.com and stopthejunkmail.com, provide further assistance or guidelines for reducing junk mail and other instructions.


There are so many reasons to replace paper bags: Why trees matter to us

There is an ongoing toll on the animals that live in the forests that are logged for paper and other wood products. As more and more trees are removed from the forest the natural habitat for these animals is lost or damaged. The people living around these forests are also significantly impacted – our over-use of paper comes at a very real cost!

The fact is ALL of us are being impacted by the loss of our natural forests, whether we are exposed to it daily or not….. So, why do trees matter to us?


This seems so obvious. Trees matter because they are part of creation and an inherent part of every ecosystem on planet earth.

We walk under them, seek shade from the sun and protection from other weather. We eat their fruit, enjoy their beauty, and gain amazing benefit through our connection with nature.

Forests are the natural habitat for a vast number of plants and animals, many of these simply cannot live anywhere else.

Trees also function to support the living earth by:

  • Enriching and holding soil
  • Absorbing carbon dioxide
  • Releasing oxygen
  • Regulating the climate
  • Providing eco-systems for diverse animal and plant species


There is no cure for deforestation

Plant, animal, and ecosystem diversity is lost in a way that can never be recreated when we cut down our original forests and replace them with commercial tree farms that are treated with pesticides and are barren of wildlife.

Rather than truly restoring the native forest, many companies create what is known as monoculture plantations – farms with only one species of tree.


These tree farms are called ‘green deserts’ by their opponents, because these plantations consume vast quantities of water, causing rivers to dry up, lead to erosion, deterioration of water quality and loss of fishing and water resources to local communities.


Hidden toll on Animals

Deforestation also destroys the habitats of a wide variety of animals, including many that are endangered. Birds, reptiles, and mammals all face habitat destruction due to deforestation and clear-cutting.

Many of these animals have difficulty seeking new habitats because the surrounding areas may be clear-cut or filled with humans.

Some animals have adverse interactions with humans, especially large predator species; others are simply incapable of adapting and quietly die off.


Simply put. It is a critical and life-positive decision to take steps to reduce or replace paper. Our focus is on a viable and simple alternative to paper bags with our reusable hemp bags.



The oldest known tree species in the world is the bristlecone pine. The oldest known tree in the world lives in the White Mountains of California. Called “Methuselah”, it is 4,789 years old.


Trees extract groundwater through their roots and release it into the atmosphere. When part of a forest is removed, the trees no longer evaporate away this water, resulting in a much drier climate.


It has been estimated that we are losing 137 plant, animal, and insect species every single day due to rainforest deforestation, which equates to up to 50,000 species a year.