Reimagine Hemp

Making paper with hemp contributes to the growth of a sustainable supply chain for this rapidly renewable fiber source. Every sheet of Mohawk Renewal Hemp is made with 30% hemp fiber. 

Hemp Field
Hemp fiber is rich in cellulose, just like wood—but it grows much more quickly.

In the phraseology of the tech industry, it's all about scalability. That's why PureHemp Technology, a small research company in Fort Lupton, Colorado, has focused on devising low-carbon, green technologies that can be replicated across the globe, such as its patented process to turn hemp stalks into pulp for making a wide variety of papers. Thanks to a collabor­ation with Mohawk, the company's unique process will soon anchor a plan to turn the byproducts of hemp into a whole line of sustainable papers. Hemp fibers were long used across American industry to manufac­ture fabric, rope, and paper until they were outlawed in the 1930s. Now, with PureHemp's process being used to manufacture hemp-derived products like pulp, papers like Mohawk Renewal join the CBD and legal marijuana industries, driving demand for this rapidly renewable agricultural crop. 

Roll of Mohawk Renewal Hemp
A roll of freshly made Mohawk Renewal Hemp, Flower shade in our Waterford, NY mill.

“We’ve got more hemp stalks than we can possibly handle,” says Ed Lehrburger, who, along with his brother Carl and Dick Wingerson, has been working to develop and commercialize this process for decades. “We’re in the process of developing a small refinery now. Our collaborative work with Mohawk means we can start building out the infrastructure to make this much bigger in the future.”

“Before, hemp stalks were never utilized, other than being tilled under out on the fields. Now, they can be repurposed to make paper that’s a benefit to the environment on every level.”

Called continuous countercurrent reactor technology, or CCR, PureHemp’s process can turn agricultural byproducts with a high cellulose content, such as hemp stalks or wheat straw, into pulp for papermaking. Hemp offers a sustainable starting point. Unlike trees, which typically take between 7 and 35 years to mature, hemp grows rapidly, maturing in as few as 90 days. Turning it into pulp requires less chemicals, water, and energy than wood, and it can be used to make a vast array of paper types, from greeting cards to label paper, cardstock, and packaging.


“Before, hemp stalks never got utilized, other than being tilled under out on the fields,” says Lehrburger. “Now, they can be repurposed to make paper that’s a benefit to the environment on every level.”

Hemp Fiber
Hemp fiber arrives at the mill in pulp bales which are blended with complementary fibers to be turned into fine printing paper.
Hemp Paper
Hemp turned into pulp can be used to make a vast array of paper types, from greeting cards to label paper, cardstock, and packaging.

Lehrburger sees extensive potential for the hemp-to-paper process. Since hemp can be raised nearly anywhere, refineries using this process can be set up across the country. Working with Mohawk helped prove the viability of hemp fiber for pulp while simultaneously fostering a new supply chain. Demand from the CBD and packaging industries alone present a massive opportunity to make a meaningful environmental impact.

“It’s a significant new invention,” Lehrburger says, “and I believe it’ll be very significant for the new century."

Quality Assurance
Renewal Hemp, though made with alternative fiber, is subject to the same rigorous testing and quality standards as all Mohawk wood-pulped papers.
On the Wire
Mohawk Renewal Hemp Flower being made on one of Mohawk's papermaking machine.
Sustainability with a Story
Mohawk Renewal
Making paper with straw eliminates the need for "fall burns" set by farmers to clear straw from their fields, creating acrid smoke and carbon emissions.
Mohawk Renewal
Recycled Cotton paper is made from t-shirt and denim scraps diverted from millions of tons of textile waste sent to landfills every year.