What is hemp and how do we use it

4th May 2018


Hemp plays a big role at Harrison Spinks; we dedicate 150 acres to our flax and hemp crop on the Harrison Spinks farm and process it all on site before transporting it just 20 miles away to our factory in Leeds where it is used as part of our luxury mattress fillings.

Did you know? We use 265 tonnes of hemp fibre in our mattresses, and 530 tonnes of bi-product is used to produce our Ecoshiv and biomass briquettes.

What is hemp?

You may have heard of hemp before but do you know what it actually is? Hemp derives from the cannabis plant but despite this contains no THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) – the active ingredient that makes cannabis a drug, this is all contained in the leafy part of the plant. Hemp instead consists of the fibre and stem of the plant and is thought to be the first domestically cultivated plant, dating back thousands of years.

Due to hemp’s coarse and strong structure it was ideal for applications such as rope, canvas and paper but less than ideal for use where comfort is concerned. Now we have methods of breeding and processing the plant that means a finer, softer fibre can be produced which is perfect for clothing or indeed mattresses.

Did you know? Hemp grows wood faster than any other crop – meaning that a whole crop can be grown and ready for use in our mattresses in just 6/7 months.

Better for the environment, better for you

Hemp is a carbon-negative raw material, meaning that it takes more carbon out of the atmosphere than it gives out and requires no pesticides or herbicides to be sprayed on it in order to grow as it is naturally resistant to insects and weeds.

Being ten times more absorbent than cotton, hemp’s hollow structure is excellent at drawing away moisture from the body during the night, meaning you remain cool, fresh and undisturbed while you sleep. Hemp is also antibacterial, so no nasty odours can build up in your mattress.

Did you know? Hemp is naturally hypoallergenic and resistant to mildew and bedbugs, which keeps your mattress fresh, clean and hygienic.

Hemp Field

How is hemp grown and processed on the farm?

The Hemp seeds are ‘drilled’ into the cultivated fields around the start of May, and plenty of Yorkshire sunshine (as rare as it can be sometimes!) helps the plant reach its height of around 12 foot in just 4 months. After the hemp plants are harvested they are then left to ‘ret’ in the fields, retting is the process where the soil and weather break down the strong fibrous crop, so that it is easier to process into materials to use in our mattress fillings. ‘Tedding’ is the process which scatters the retting hemp so that it has the opportunity to break down.Next the hemp is baled up and ready for processing. The hemp contains two parts; the fibre and the wood, or shiv. The wood is hard, not useful for mattress fillings at all so needs to be separated out in order to be recycled. This shiv is collected with all the dust that is given out from the process and compressed into briquettes that then go onto be used as fuel for Hornington Manor.Did you know? We use around 90% of every bale, with only 10% going to waste. We’re working hard to make it this closer to 100%, as well as recycling other waste products from the mattress factory.