3D Printing Hemp Plastic, With Andrew Bader of Corfiber

3D Printing Hemp Plastic, With Andrew Bader of Corfiber
Ministry of Hemp Podcast

Although we’ve discussed hemp plastic before, today on our podcast we’re looking at a new form: 3D printing with hemp.

On the Ministry of Hemp podcast, our host Matt talks with Andrew Bader, founder of Corfiber. Matt first met Andrew at a local Farmer’s Market in Omaha, Nebraska where he was 3d printing chess pieces for a chess set made of hemp plastic.

Matt spoke to Andrew from his basement where he started his company and 3d prints sunglasses, jewelry, and several other hemp plastic items. They discuss the difficulties of starting a hemp plastic business in a market with no shortage of product but a serious lack of hemp plastic processing. Andrew comes from a corn and soybean farming family and also has some unique insight into why more farmers aren’t switching to hemp crops yet.

In the closing moments, Matt teases his upcoming episode about the cannabinoid Delta 8, which we’ve just created an FAQ about. Matt also mentions his previous interview with Kelly Rippel about Kansas hemp.

Brought to you by Blue Forest Farms Hemp

We’d like to thank our partners at Blue Forest Farms for making this episode possible.

The What’s Your Number system from Blue Forest Farms offers tailored CBD for every need.

The folks at BFF pride themselves on a fully seed-to-shelf process that is also fully organic. From selectively breeding their own high-quality varietals of hemp; growing plants locally on their sun-kissed, organic, Colorado farm; monitoring the state-of-the-art extraction process; and even engineering the best tasting formulas, Blue Forest Farms ensures quality at every step in the CBD product creation process.

The Blue Forest Farms What’s Your Number system comes from processing 6 different unique oils. Whether you’re looking for a full spectrum unrefined hemp oil, pure CBD isolate with absolutely no THC, or even an advanced sleep formula that combines CBD with a concentrated amount of CBN, BFF has six oil formulas to fit the unique needs of their customers. We also picked Blue Forest Farms Broad Spectrum Gummies as one of our top brands of CBD gummies.

Use the code “Ministry” at checkout for 20% off your purchase at bffhemp.com and help support a great CBD brand that supports the Ministry of Hemp.

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Andrew Bader’s new startup, Corfiber, uses 3D printing of hemp plastic to create chess boards, hemp sunglasses, and more.

3D Printing Hemp Plastic: Complete episode transcript

Below you’ll find the complete transcript of episode 59 of the Ministry of Hemp podcast, “3D Printing with Hemp Plastic”:

Matt Baum:
I’m Matt Baum, and this is the Ministry of Hemp Podcast brought to you by ministryofhemp.com, America’s leading advocate for hemp and hemp education. You may have noticed I’ve been trying to talk about hemp plastic more on the show lately because it’s important. Hemp plastics are a renewable and responsible way to replace oil-based plastics. We’re going to talk about it again on the show today. But before that, I want to say thanks to our partner for this episode. Blue Forest Farms is partnering with us to bring you this episode and this information, and they are a fantastic company.

Matt Baum:
We’re super excited to partner with them. And later on in the show, I’m going to tell you more about them, their line of high quality CBD products and give you a discount code you can use at bffhemp.com. So listen for that, and huge thanks to Blue Forest Farms for partnering with us. Today on the show, I’m talking to Andrew Bader. Andrew is actually a local Omaha guy like me. I bumped into him at a farmer’s market where he had a tent set up and they were 3D printing hemp gifts using hemp plastic. I was blown away. I didn’t even know anybody in town was doing this, and I told him he has to come on my show and talk to me. Andrew is very much in the startup phase with his company, Corfiber. He’s currently operating out of his basement and that’s where our conversation starts.

Meet Andrew Bader

Andrew Bader:
I currently work in my basement. My operation is out of the basement. I look forward to expanding someday.

Matt Baum:
And so, this is truly a basement operation, when you’re just getting off the ground?

Andrew Bader:
All the great companies start out of the basement.

Matt Baum:
It’s true, man. It’s absolutely true. I got to say, I was a little shocked. I was walking through my local farmer’s market a couple of weeks ago, and there were some guys there making sunglasses right in front of us on a 3D printer right here in Omaha, Nebraska. Everybody I’ve talked to has been… All over the world all over the coast, in Europe, I’ve talked to a couple of people in India actually, you’re the first person that I’ve talked to in Omaha, Nebraska, where I live by the way that’s actually doing stuff with hemp. How did you get started on this?

Andrew Bader:
Well, I wanted to work with hemp plastics since I graduated high school. I figured the amount of startup capital to buy the extruder which compounds the hemp into your plastic cost quite a bit of money.

Matt Baum:
I would guess.

Andrew Bader:
So I just started doing the research and figured out how much the resins will cost and the hemp fiber will cost, and all the ins and outs of how to get hemp plastic production going here. It’s Nebraska, so we got a lot of farm ground to the crop.

Matt Baum:
It’s true. Are you getting your hemp from Nebraska?

Andrew Bader:
No, it’s South Dakota.

Matt Baum:
Okay, okay.

Making hemp filament for 3D printing

Andrew Bader:
There’s a company out there called 3D-Fuel. They work with a university in a partnership to produce the hemp filament. They compound the hemp into a PLA, which comes from cornstarch.

Matt Baum:
Okay, and what’s a PLA?

Andrew Bader:
It stands for polylactic acid. It’s a clear resin.

Matt Baum:
All right, got you.

Andrew Bader:
It is from microorganisms that break down plant starch.

Matt Baum:
Cool.

Andrew Bader:
And since corn is so abundant, one of the cheapest ways to make PLA is to break down that starch.

Matt Baum:
Sure.

Andrew Bader:
And then, the company compounds it or mixes it with heat and pressure to really create a uniform substance to then make a filament out of that you can feed your 3D printer.

Matt Baum:
Okay. So you’re literally buying… I don’t know why, but I picture like hamster food pellets, almost, compressed little pieces of filament. It’s a hemp plastic. It acts just like a regular 3D printer would with plastic?

Andrew Bader:
Well, there’s many different grades of PLA. So there’s 3D printer grade and there’s injection moldable grade, then there’s a few other grades. The PLA that’s made for 3D printing, they put it through another machine that produces the filament. So you take the pellets that looks like the hamster material.

Matt Baum:
Right, it comes in a bag, right?

Andrew Bader:
Yes.

Matt Baum:
Okay. So I’m not that far off, it’s just a bunch of pellets?

Andrew Bader:
Right.

Matt Baum:
And those are fed into the 3D printer and then the 3D printer awaits your instructions and basically melts them down or does it strip them or?

Andrew Bader:
Well, first those pallets, those plastic pallets are turned into the filament. And so, it’s turned into a roll. But we also make injection moldable sunglasses. That’s when you just take those pallets and you use heat and pressure and force it into a mold.

Matt Baum:
Right, right.

Andrew Bader:
So the idea here is to create everyday items out of hemp plastic, and convert oil-based plastic to plant-based plastic.

Creating a hemp 3D printing startup

Matt Baum:
Shortly after you graduated from high school, you got interested in this? How did that happen? How did you happen across hemp and the idea of hemp plastic? We’ll get to the whole making sunglasses and why you’re doing that later. But how did you get started with this idea?

Andrew Bader:
I grew up on a farm growing corn and soybeans.

Matt Baum:
Okay.

Andrew Bader:
We’re price takers. We’ve always been dependent on the market. The market tells us what they’re going to give for our product. So I was also looking for a more sustainable crop to produce, and hemp is the sustainable crop of choice for large scale production across the United States, because it requires no pesticides. It requires a fraction of the water. [crosstalk 00:06:08] requires to grow. So when you talk about sustainability, hemp is what you want.

Matt Baum:
Totally. So your family were… You grew up on a family farm, I take it?

Andrew Bader:
Yes.

Matt Baum:
What do they think about hemp then? You said they were corn and soybean people. What do they think about this? Has it been tough to try and sell them on this idea or are they on your side? Are they pro-hemp and trying to grow it here in Nebraska too?

Andrew Bader:
I’m sure they have their reservations and the words that they keep in the back of their mind that they would like to tell me, but they are open. They want to see what it can do. They want to… If it can be profitable and not be a drug or ruin people’s lives. See everything that’s good I think should be brought into the open, and eventually people will see that hemp is some of the longest, strongest and most durable of all natural fibers. It requires no pesticides or herbicides to grow. The seed is a complete protein, that means it has all the essential amino acids to build muscle .

Matt Baum:
You’ve done your homework, you know what you’re talking about here. You’re not just going into the plastic business. You did your homework, I can tell by the way you talk.

Andrew Bader:
I’ve approached this from all angles. I’ve attended many different expos. Some of the first being the NoCo Hemp Expo in Colorado.

Matt Baum:
Which one were you at? Because I was at one about… Well, not last year, but the year before. I was at that one.

Andrew Bader:
I was at the first and second and third one.

Matt Baum:
Cool. All right. So we were together at the third one then I think?

Andrew Bader:
Maybe. I heard it brings in 10,000 people. So-

Matt Baum:
Yeah, it was massive, it was huge.

Andrew Bader:
… you can get lost.

Matt Baum:
Definitely.

Andrew Bader:
Hopefully they have it this year. Well, they had to cancel this year’s. But next year hopefully, they’ll have it.

Matt Baum:
Hopefully, it will be back. Yeah, it is a good time. So when you went there, is that where you started to formulate this idea for a 3D printing business that could just start putting together every day items?

Andrew Bader:
No, I was always looking for that opportunity to get in the market without spending a large amount of time and money to get involved. And eventually, 3D field started producing this hemp filament maybe in 2018. Or 2017 I think they put out their first rolls. In 2018, I really got started just making the sunglasses, perfecting the process. I wanted to do CBD. I wanted to actually make the hemp plastic. But in the end, my role just came down to this.

The challenges of a small hemp business

Matt Baum:
Fair enough. So you said, you wanted to start up a business like this and you had to look at overhead. What’s it like? I know getting in the CBD business or getting into a massive industrial hemp plastic business, very expensive. What was it like for you like someone who decided, I’m going to specialize and do a certain thing? Would it be cheaper to do it this way than say to just buy plastic filament for your 3D printer and print stuff or is it more of an ecological choice as well?

Andrew Bader:
If I had the funding, I would make my own plastic because I could make it for a lot cheaper. Because if I could make it myself instead of costing a couple dollars to make an item, it would cost me a couple cents.

Matt Baum:
Of course, yeah.

Andrew Bader:
But it all comes down to how much time and money you got. Unfortunately, I hate that money runs the world. But when it comes down to it, you need funding.

Matt Baum:
Of course. So what’s your other background like, because you can’t just… This is not a thing where you sit in front of your computer and go, “Computer, make sunglasses.” And then in the printer just ba-boom! You’ve got to have some AutoCAD background or some type of architecture or design?

Andrew Bader:
So every great company, every good idea, it takes a team. You can’t do everything by yourself.

Matt Baum:
Sure.

Andrew Bader:
And I work with a couple of CAD designers, my brother being one of them. Another guy in Omaha, [Roderick 00:10:20] [Ekwall 00:10:20] helped design the first model for the sunglasses. And since then, I’ve worked with a few other CAD designers. But besides just the CAD designing, just getting the printer to do exactly what you want in a nice way, and then taking it off the printer and sanding it down and getting your materials for the right price. It all takes logistics.

Matt Baum:
Of course.

Andrew Bader:
And figuring out the logistics is a big part of everything.

Matt Baum:
So you said you’re getting your hemp from South Dakota. How’d you hook up with those guys? Was it just a matter of, I want to deal with someone local, or you just got on Google and found somebody who was doing it?

Andrew Bader:
I just found 3D-Fuel, and they were making this hemp… They were selling this hemp filament. It was just fate, I guess.

Matt Baum:
I’m going to take a note on that. I’d like to get ahold of those guys, because I know South Dakota is pretty stiff with their hemp rules. So I was a little shocked when you said this was coming out of South Dakota. Their governor is-

Andrew Bader:
Let me read the box. It could be North Dakota. Entwined 3D printing filament is produced from USA-grown and process industrial hemp. The hemp filament uses no dyes allowing it to maintain a true natural brown tone with small specks of visible bio-fill.

Matt Baum:
Fair enough.

Andrew Bader:
Yes.

Matt Baum:
And you said, what’s the name of the company? I’m sorry, 3D-Fuels?

Andrew Bader:
Yeah, 3D-Fuel.

Matt Baum:
I’m going to have to look them up.

Andrew Bader:
There is also a European company called Kanesis, and that you spell that, K-A-N-E-S-I-S.

Matt Baum:
S-I-S.

Andrew Bader:
I’ve tried their filament. It’s unique in its own way. It probably has a little more bio-fill in it, but it just doesn’t perform like 3D-Fuel’s does. There’s actually another company coming online out of California that’s going to be producing this. So there’s currently three companies that can make this hemp filament-

Matt Baum:
In the world, there’s three companies?

Andrew Bader:
In the world, in the world.

Matt Baum:
That’s crazy. It just seems like if this is going to… If this can do what we think it can do and you’re making sunglasses out of it… I have a pair, they’re fantastic, and they’re lighter, but they seem stronger than most plastic sunglasses I’ve had, I got to say. If we can do this, does that mean hemp plastic is kind of limitless in what it can do to replace other plastics in your opinion?

Andrew Bader:
Well, you probably wouldn’t want to build a spaceship out of it.

Matt Baum:
Yeah. We’re not building spaceships out of plastic. I guess as far as replacing normal plastic as we think about them.

Andrew Bader:
If you can process hemp in the right way, you can make plastics though that are very competitive for aerospace engineering products.

Matt Baum:
That’s-

Andrew Bader:
But this filament and this plastic I use, the hemp is just a filler. So it reduces the amount of resin needed. It brings down the cost of the plastic. It brings down the weight of the plastic. If you can process the fiber down to pure level and incorporate it into your plastic, it can add strength to it, so tensile, flexural, impact strength. Henry Ford as we all know used… Built his first Model T out of a natural fiber plastics being a mix of hemp, kenaf and maybe flax, maybe sisal. He took a sledgehammer to that thing and in the video, it just bounces off.

Matt Baum:
Yeah, no dent or anything. It was really cool. So what do you-

Andrew Bader:
So with the right technology, hemp plastic could be limitless.

3D printing hemp with Corfiber

Matt Baum:
So what are you guys making right now? What are you producing for a hemp vision? Is it just sunglasses or you’re getting into other stuff too?

Andrew Bader:
We make about four or five different models of sunglasses, then we make earrings in all the element forms. So fire, wind, tree, [crosstalk 00:14:38] mountains.

Matt Baum:
Cool.

Andrew Bader:
But we also make vases, business card holders, salt dishes, coasters, coaster holders, bottle openers, [crosstalk 00:14:49]-

Matt Baum:
It’s great, like looking around office to see everything. I love it.

Andrew Bader:
… key chains and we just started making chess pieces and chess boards.

Matt Baum:
I did see that. That was out there at the farmer’s market as well. Very cool.

Andrew Bader:
It’s been one of the hot items. People really are picking up on that chess set.

Matt Baum:
So how many printers do you have right now?

Andrew Bader:
Eight.

Matt Baum:
You have eight of them. And you can literally take any 3D printer and put this filament in? It doesn’t have to be a special printer?

Andrew Bader:
No. Yeah, this is pretty… I use pretty basic printers. But not any printer because there’s some printers that use liquid resin.

Matt Baum:
Oh, okay.

Andrew Bader:
And some companies make their 3D printers so you can only put in a certain kind of filament that they produce. They make the opening smaller and make it difficult to use other kinds of filament.

Matt Baum:
Sure.

Andrew Bader:
I challenge anybody to buy a 3D printer and start making items out of hemp plastic.

Special thanks to Blue Forest Farms

Matt Baum:
That’s really cool. Let’s take a quick break so we can talk about our partner this week, Blue Forest Farms. Blue Forest Farms prides itself on a full seed to shelf process that is completely organic, from selectively breeding their own high quality varietals, growing their plants locally in their Sunkist organic Colorado farms, monitoring the state of the art extraction process and even engineering the best tasting formulas. Blue Forest Farms or BFF as we call them in-house at Ministry of Hemp ensures quality at every step in the CBD product creation process. They even have a very cool numbering system that helps you figure out what’s your number based on their six different CBD oils.

Matt Baum:
Maybe you’re looking for a full spectrum unrefined hemp oil, or you’re looking for pure CBD isolate with absolutely no THC, or maybe you would be interested in their new sleep formula. It’s a CVN Advanced Formula Number Six, their latest organic CBD oil. They sent me some and I’ve been using it. I’ve got to say I’ve been sleeping very well, which is great, because I just ran out of my other one. Blue Forest Farms has a CBD oil that is perfect for any of your needs. You can find more information about their farm, the genetics, and how their extraction process works over at blueforestfarms.com. And then head over to bffhemp.com and check out and buy their products.

Matt Baum:
By the way, if you use the code ministry at checkout right now, you’ll get 20% off your first purchase just for listening to this show. Head to bffhemp.com, and of course we’ll have links to that in the show notes for this episode and use the code ministry to get 20% off your first purchase. You guys are always contacting me and asking, “Matt, where can I get good CBD? Who is a good CBD company?” Blue Forest Farms is fantastic. We are proud to be partnering with them and I am so excited to recommend them to you guys. Again, had to bffhemp.com. Check out their whole line of CBD oils, including their latest, Number Six which combines the benefit of CBD with a concentrated amount of CBN that’s going to help you get to sleep. Don’t forget to use the code ministry at checkout to get 20% off. Let them know you listen to Ministry of Hemp.com to get your information and you want to support businesses that support us. And now back to my interview with Andrew Bader. So how long did it take to make the sunglasses that I bought?

3D printing hemp sunglasses

Andrew Bader:
The prototyping took about a year. I’m a farmer by trade. So I’ve made these on the side and I continue to do that when I get home. After a long day’s work, I turn on all the printers, get them all going and start sanding and assembling the sunglasses.

Matt Bader:
So how long does it take to actually print one pair of sunglasses, start to finish? You turn on the printer and you go, “Computer, sunglasses,” or whatever you do? How long does it take to actually print it out?

Andrew Bader:
One pair takes about 60 minutes.

Matt Baum:
Oh, really?

Andrew Bader:
Yeah.

Matt Baum:
Is that based on… Is that the kind of thing where the technology is going to get better and it’ll be faster or is it because of the nature of the shape or the plastic itself?

Andrew Bader:
Well, that is not the limiting factor. If I get all my eight printers going printing sunglasses four at a time, I’ll wake up with almost 30 pairs of sunglasses. And then every two hours, you get four sunglasses off of one printer. So-

Matt Baum:
Sure, sure.

Andrew Bader:
… then the limiting factor becomes labor.

Matt Baum:
Sanding it down, putting the lenses in and stuff like that?

Andrew Bader:
Yeah. So with 3D printing, I can multiply my printers and get all I need from there.

Matt Baum:
Sure. But it will probably be a faster process in the future as 3D printers get better. Right?

Andrew Bader:
I hope so. When you speed up… I can make these sprinters go real fast and put in only 10% infill. I could probably make them 10 times faster, but the quality goes down. There’s a balance between quality and speed and-

How 3D printing works

Matt Baum:
You said the word infill. Tell me what that means. Literally, I’ve seen 3D printers work. They blow my mind. It melts my brain when I see them in action. But I realize I have no idea how they actually work.

Andrew Bader:
So when you start printing an item, you got your first layers. Those are all 100%. Every inch is covered. And then after those first four or five layers, then the printer starts just making a square-shaped instead of complete infill.

Matt Baum:
Okay. So it’s like almost weaving it around a skeleton?

Andrew Bader:
Yeah, it’s like a honeycomb.

Matt Baum:
Okay.

Andrew Bader:
So on the outside of a bee’s nest, it’s all solid. But when you crack it open, it’s a honeycomb.

Matt Baum:
Awesome. So once you have your plans and you’ve set up your 3D dimensional design, you literally feed that into the computer, set it, forget it and just let it start printing? You go to bed and wake up in the morning and you’ve got a bunch of sunglasses there?

Andrew Bader:
Heck yeah. And then, I turned them on and go to work, and I come back from work and there’s a whole bunch more.

Matt Baum:
That is awesome. So they print out… I’m picturing… What I’m picturing is ridiculous. It’s like a cartoon assembly line or something with a bunch of hammers and whatever. But the printer prints it out and then it just spits it on to a little conveyor belt or something?

Andrew Bader:
That would be the dream [crosstalk 00:21:53] if the 3D printer could dump what it printed off, scrape it off and restart itself, that would be awesome. But no, after it’s done printing, you got to scrape each print off.

Matt Baum:
Okay, okay.

Andrew Bader:
And restart it.

Matt Baum:
So what’s next for you? Right now, you’re new, you’re working out of the basement. You’re getting the word out there. You’re going to farmer’s markets. I feel like the response has been really cool.

Andrew Bader:
Mm-hmm (affirmative), yeah. I would like to bring the price down so injection molding is going to happen. I like how I can test the market with 3D printing and see which items and designs people like before I go buy that $10,000 mold.

Matt Baum:
Sure, Jesus. I get that.

Andrew Bader:
[crosstalk 00:22:37].

Matt Baum:
I totally get that. So that’s the plan right now is 3D print some stuff for proof of concept more or less?

Andrew Bader:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Matt Baum:
I paid $20 for my sunglasses. That’s not a lot to pay for sunglasses. I don’t mind paying that at all.

Andrew Bader:
No, but some tourist shops, so I guess they buy their sunglasses for 12 cents. So-

Matt Baum:
Yeah. There-

Andrew Bader:
… it’s hard to compete with the oil-based sunglasses.

Matt Baum:
Do you think that’s going to be the biggest hurdle is trying to explain to people, yes, they’re more expensive, but the idea is we’re making something that’s better for the environment, that replaces plastic? What’s that conversation like right now? Have you had trouble with those hurdles?

Andrew Bader:
Everybody’s on board with making plant-based plastics.

Matt Baum:
Right? That’s awesome.

Andrew Bader:
So I think it’s all about exposure.

Matt Baum:
Yeah.

Andrew Bader:
And hopefully, we can get our economy turned around and-

Matt Baum:
That would be nice.

Andrew Bader:
And then, it’ll all come together in time.

Matt Baum:
Sure, sure. So when you start to move to injection molding, now we’re talking like, you can’t do that in your basement. That’s going to be like, you need a warehouse or something. Right? I don’t know how that works either to be quite honest.

Andrew Bader:
No. Actually, if you want to get it down to a couple dollars a pair, you want automated injection molding machines. But you can buy injection molding machines that you can use your hand with. It’s just like a big press.

Matt Baum:
Okay. I’ve seen guys do that with action figures on online and stuff, real nerds that want to make their own action figures, have an injection mold press. Is the plastic just the same thing? It’ll work with hemp plastic the same way?

Andrew Bader:
It’s a different grade.

Matt Baum:
Okay.

Andrew Bader:
It’s a different process. It’s a total different designing, different CAD software, different molds.

Matt Baum:
Of course.

Andrew Bader:
No molds in 3D printing.

Matt Baum:
But you’re building the mold as opposed to building out… It’s like you’re almost building it inside out. Whereas your 3D printing, you’re making a skeleton and telling the printer, build this. The mold is actually going to be like what the skeleton will be, the inside of it, more or less? And you pour the goop in and it dries or cools or whatever, and the you have sunglasses.

Andrew Bader:
Exactly.

Matt Baum:
So do you know where you’re going to be getting the… You’re not going to get that plastic from the same place, I would guess? It’s two different companies?

Andrew Bader:
Two different companies and we’re hopefully bringing on another company.

Taking the risk of investing in hemp

Matt Baum:
Cool. And are there more people doing injection grade stuff than the 3D printer stuff right now? I would guess there would be.

Andrew Bader:
There’s only a few companies doing it.

Matt Baum:
Really?

Andrew Bader:
Like the 8000Kicks guy, finding a supply of hemp fiber, it seems to be the limiting factor here.

Matt Baum:
Totally.

Andrew Bader:
And a lot of the established companies don’t want to take the risk.

Matt Baum:
Yeah.

Andrew Bader:
And plus they’re already having good income streams doing what they do.

Matt Baum:
Right.

Andrew Bader:
So it’s going to take new companies with new investment to bring the hemp plastic into the world.

Matt Baum:
Well, it seems like just new companies with new investment but new companies with an ecological mind where they’re saying like, look, like you said, this is going to be a little more expensive. There’s no way around it, but we’re doing something different with real benefit.

Andrew Bader:
I think we can get it down to oil-based prices, but-

Matt Baum:
Really?

Andrew Bader:
Oh yeah, absolutely. The hemp fiber, you can make for dirt cheap. Like in Canada, where the grow hemp through seed, they burn for fiber. They just pile on that fiber up in the corner of the field and burning it.

Matt Baum:
Really?

Andrew Bader:
And the Colorado Hemp Company, they [inaudible 00:26:36] use waste material to make their plastic. It’s nothing special.

Matt Baum:
So this is just a matter of, we don’t have people processing it? That’s the biggest problem?

Andrew Bader:
Yes, it’s all going to take that money into the processing.

Matt Baum:
Good Lord. And once that happens, then sky’s the limit. Then you can make 12 cent sunglasses basically?

Andrew Bader:
Games on.

Matt Baum:
Wow. So you’re trying to get in on this now at the very ground floor as it’s developing so when that does get in place, you’re already there, you’re ready to go?

Andrew Bader:
Yeah, I think we’re developing a good amount of market knowledge to know what bites and what doesn’t.

Matt Baum:
Sure, sure.

Andrew Bader:
So I’ll we’ll know where that hemp plastic has demand and where it might not.

The future of Corfiber

Matt Baum:
So what’s next for you guys, what’s your plan?

Andrew Bader:
Can make everything, every day items out of hemp plastic, so cups, anything.

Matt Baum:
You want to go for it, full on industrial, just let’s replace plastic with hemp, whatever we can make?

Andrew Bader:
Absolutely. And it’s going to take… There’s a niche for everybody. There’s a spot in the market for everybody.

Matt Baum:
Sure.

Andrew Bader:
There’s people making hemp toothbrushes.

Matt Baum:
Yeah. I’ve seen those.

Andrew Bader:
… and shoes and sunglasses. So it’s common.

Matt Baum:
Yeah, whether we like it or not, it’s going to happen. It’s just a matter of waiting for the processing to catch up to the demand. Right?

Andrew Bader:
Yeah. We might like it, but DuPont might not like it.

Matt Baum:
Yeah. Well, they’ve had their time in the sun, right?

Andrew Bader:
Yeah, it’s time for them to get gone.

Matt Baum:
Most definitely. Yeah, I appreciate you coming on the show, man. And we will have a link obviously in the show notes so people can check out your sunglasses. Right now, are farmer’s markets and stuff, is that the only place you can really get them outside of the website or are they anywhere else?

Andrew Bader:
They’re on Etsy and a few CBD shops on Lincoln and Omaha.

Matt Baum:
Cool, that’s very cool.

Andrew Bader:
We’re trying to get into the NoCo Hemp Expo if they have it next year.

Matt Baum:
Fair enough, make some inroads into some other buyers and stores and stuff?

Andrew Bader:
Absolutely. But we’re trying to be in to every CBD shop across the country.

Matt Baum:
That’s cool. That’s a good idea too, because anyone that’s going to a CBD shop already knows hemp, digs hemp, or is at least curious about it. And when they see it can do stuff like that, I think it really blows people’s minds when… Especially since I was wearing the sunglasses the other day, I was at the dog park. A guy I know that brings his dog up there was like, “What are those?” Because they look different. They don’t look like plastic. They look like brown, flecked. They’re really cool looking. And I told him,-

Andrew Bader:
Yeah, [crosstalk 00:29:17] plastic.

Matt Baum:
… “These are made of hemp.” Yeah.

Andrew Bader:
It’s almost like blood.

Matt Baum:
Totally. And he said, “Are those made of wood?” And I said, “No, they’re made of hemp plastic.” And he said, “What does that mean?” And I blew his mind. I said, “Yeah, there’s a guy right here in town making these and he does it with a 3D printer. It’s literally the plant turned into plastic.” I think the more people learn about this, the more excited they’re going to get

Andrew Bader:
Yes. And we’re now starting to produce those injection molded sunglasses.

Matt Baum:
That’s very cool. Let me ask you, is the final product different than the 3D printed one? Does it look like the same color I assume? But what’s the grade plastic like?

Andrew Bader:
No, injection molded ones are darker.

Matt Baum:
Oh really?

Andrew Bader:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Matt Baum:
Okay. You could-

Andrew Bader:
They look and feel different.

Matt Baum:
Do they feel just like regular plastic?

Andrew Bader:
No, it’s a mixture of a wood feeling mixed with a plastic feeling. It’s a unique one of a kind. You can’t really describe it.

Matt Baum:
Yeah, I’ve noticed that. Like I said, it feels lighter in your hand, but it also feels stronger. I’ve had cheap… We’ve all had cheap, crappy, plastic sunglasses that they’re heavy on your face and whatever, and then they just break for some reason on your body.

Reducing waste with hemp plastic

Andrew Bader:
Yeah, which is unfortunate. So I heard all your stats on how much… 300 million shoes go into the landfill. I wonder how many sunglasses go into the landfill.

Matt Baum:
It’s got to be insane. Because for years, think about it. I never spent money on sunglasses because they broke all the time. And so I never understood people who were like, I want a $200 pair of sunglasses. Mine are going to get thrown in the car. They’re going to get scratched. And when I lose them, I’m going to feel like I’m dying inside because I spent $200. You know?

Andrew Bader:
Right, we always need a subscription base-

Matt Baum:
Totally.

Andrew Bader:
… if you lose or break your sunglasses. You send them into us and we’ll ship out another pair for [crosstalk 00:31:14].

Matt Baum:
Totally, that’s a great idea. Yeah, because I know whenever I bought… I would buy cheap 5, 6, $7 sunglasses. They break and I just throw them away and not even think about it. And then they’d be in a landfill for 1,000 years. It’s insane.

Andrew Bader:
And we can grind those sunglasses, those broken sunglasses up and reuse them.

Matt Baum:
Really?

Andrew Bader:
Reuse the plastic.

Matt Baum:
Combine it with hemp plastic?

Andrew Bader:
Well, it’s already hemp plastic. We just put it through a grinder.

Matt Baum:
You’re talking about… I’m sorry, your sunglasses? If I were to send you broken ones, you can literally grind them up and use it again?

Andrew Bader:
The injection molded ones, yes.

Matt Baum:
That’s really cool, just melt it down and make it something again.

Andrew Bader:
Right. And my brother’s actually using recycled plastic too to make sunglasses.

Matt Baum:
That’s very cool.

Andrew Bader:
So we’re using hemp plastic and recycled plastic to make the world a better place.

Matt Baum:
That is awesome. Like I said, I appreciate you coming on the show. This is great. I’m glad someone’s doing this locally. I’m sorry, there’s not more producers out there to help you. What can we do in that? Is there anything we can do at this point to get producers and to get industry just looking at this? Is it a matter of just continuing to buy these products and show them that there’s money there?

Andrew Bader:
I think there’s opportunity for a public private investment. Like the ethanol companies, the government worked with private companies to build all those ethanol plants to create cleaner burning fuel.

Matt Baum:
Right.

Andrew Bader:
That has helped clean up our air pollution tenfold.

Matt Baum:
Definitely.

Andrew Bader:
And I think if the government would take a serious look at hemp and with other private companies… I wish producers and government agencies would approach hemp like they do corn and soybeans, because the potential is there to be as big as corn and soybeans. And-

Matt Baum:
Totally.

Andrew Bader:
… if we can take a more collective effort at this, it’d be more successful. Right now, you’ve got a whole bunch of entrepreneurs using every last dime and penny in their pocket to get their company up and going, but then they have… They hit roadblocks and it goes nowhere.

Matt Baum:
Yeah, I hear you. So speaking as a farmer from that aspect, you grew up with corn. You grew up with soybeans. Do you see farmers clamoring for this or saying, yeah, we are [inaudible 00:33:43] this and yes, I agree with you, the government should do something similar like they did for corn and soybeans? Do you hear a lot of that as a farmer or are farmers kind of resistant and just waiting to see what happens? Are they scared?

Andrew Bader:
They’re definitely scared to change their whole operation. When you’re growing corn and soybeans, you’re buying combines and planters that can grow hemp or grow corn and soybeans. But a lot of the same equipment can be used for hemp. It really would take a specialized harvester.

Matt Baum:
Yeah.

Andrew Bader:
And farmers want to see profit. They know year in and year out that they’re going to make money off corn and they can take it somewhere at the end of the growing season. Right now, if you’re a hemp farmer, you put that seed in the ground, comes harvest time and you might not have a place to take it. So-

Matt Baum:
Yeah, that’s scary.

Andrew Bader:
… if we can give them guaranteed contracts, if we can prove to them that it can be profitable, yeah, I think they’ll definitely hop on board.

Matt Baum:
So they change the laws, we’ll say tomorrow, and you can go to your family and you go, “Mom, dad, enough of this corn business, enough of this soybeans. We’re growing hemp. The laws are changed.” Are your parents going for it or are they going, “That’s nice, sweetie. We’ll talk about it.”?

Andrew Bader:
I think there’s places that it’ll grow better.

Matt Baum:
Yeah. Than Nebraska really?

Andrew Bader:
Well, in Western Nebraska, the land is cheaper.

Matt Baum:
Sure.

Andrew Bader:
It’s just cheaper out there. Around Eastern Nebraska, we got highly productive soil that can be used to produce highly yielding crops.

Matt Baum:
Sure, sure.

Andrew Bader:
I think if we could take land that’s underutilized and grow hemp with it, that would be the best solution.

Matt Baum:
I totally agree. Yeah. Sandy soil out West and over farmed soil.

Andrew Bader:
And hemp loves sandy soil here. And here by the river, you don’t want to pump thousands of dollars into fertilizer, seeds and [inaudible 00:35:46] away, but just grow some hemp out there and [inaudible 00:35:53].

Matt Baum:
It’s a weed, and it’s going to grow?

Andrew Bader:
Absolutely. There was some hemp growing in the corner of one of our soybean fields one year and it was 15 feet tall and not a weed under it.

Matt Baum:
Yeah, yeah. We talked about that with a guy a while ago that was on the show that was talking about how his father actually worked for University of Kansas. They had a government grant basically to try and kill wild hemp, and this was when the prohibition was just kicking in. They literally put poison in packs on students and sent them out to spray hemp plants with it and they couldn’t kill it. It wouldn’t die. It kept coming back. This was leftover hemp from back in the day that was grown by hemp farmers by the river and stuff like that where they couldn’t grow vegetables as well, or they couldn’t grow corn or soybeans as well. They grew hemp in their crappy fields and it was unstoppable. So maybe that’s how we save Western Nebraska. I don’t know. I hope so.

Andrew Bader:
Yes, and if corn and soybean prices ever dropped, we can start producing hemp right here in Eastern Nebraska.

Matt Baum:
Absolutely, absolutely. Andrew, it’s been really good talking with you, man. I don’t want to keep you all night. You’re a farmer. You’re hardworking guy. I get it. Keep printing those sunglasses, and we appreciate you coming on the show, man. I appreciate what you’re doing right here in Nebraska. It’s so great to see somebody doing it.

Andrew Bader:
Thanks for having me. We’ll see what we can do with it.

Final thoughts from Matt

Matt Baum:
Most definitely. I want to thank Andrew again for coming on the show. It was really cool to talk to somebody this early in their startup that’s doing something that I didn’t realize pretty much anyone could do from their basement right now with hemp plastic. And if you want to hear more about that story I was telling Andrew about Kansas and their half-cocked plan to stamp out wild hemp back in the day, check out my Kansas Hemp Stories podcast featuring Kelly Ripple. It’s a great episode. And of course, I’ll have links to it in the show notes for this episode.

Matt Baum:
Thank you for tuning in to another exciting episode of the Ministry of Hemp Podcasts. We’ll be back next week where hopefully, I’m going to be talking about Delta-8-THC. Well, it’s new and quite honestly, I don’t know a whole lot about it. But good news is we have a Delta-8 FAQ, F-A-Q that is, over at ministryofhemp.com. You should go check out right now so to get you a primer for the discussion we’re going to have. I know I need to read it because I know very little on the subject. Also huge thanks to BFF, Blue Forest Farms, for partnering with us today. Don’t forget to check out BFF hemp and use that code ministry to get 20% off your first purchase.

Matt Baum:
And if you want to say thanks to us, you could head over to patreonministryofhemp and become a Ministry of Hemp Insider. Any amount you give supports this show, it makes you an insider and it gets you access to podcast extras. It gets you access to early articles and all kinds of extra stuff that we put up there. It is the best way to show that you not only care about hemp and this information, but you want other people to hear it too and you support people that are out there educating and telling the truth about hemp and how it really can change the world. And thank you to everybody that already is a Ministry of Hemp Insider. I’ll have a link to our patreon in the show notes as well.

Matt Baum:
And speaking of our show notes, here at Ministry of Hemp, we believe that an accessible world is a better world for everyone. So you can find a complete written transcript of this episode in the show notes as well. And if that’s not enough, follow us on Twitter, follow us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram. We’re all over the place and we’re always posting great hemp educational stuff and reposting our buddy stuff too. So it’s a great way to find new labels, hear news from other sites we trust and work with and stay up on all the hemp news. That’s about it for this episode. I like to get out of here the same way every time. I always say, remember to take care of yourself, take care of others and make good decisions, will you? This is Matt Baum with the Ministry of Hemp signing off.

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