Lignin is a natural light-coloured ultraviolet (UV) absorber; however, conventional extraction processes usually darken its colour and could be detrimental to its UV-shielding ability. In this study, a sustainable way of fabricating lignin–cellulose nanocrystals (L-CNCs) from hemp hurd is proposed. A homogeneous morphology of the hemp particles was achieved by ball milling, and L-CNCs with high aspect ratio were obtained through mild acid hydrolysis on the ball-milled particles. The L-CNCs were used as filler in polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) film, which produced a light-coloured nanocomposite film with high UV-shielding ability and enhanced tensile properties: the absorption of UV at wavelength of 400 nm and transparency in the visible-light region at wavelength of 550 nm was 116 times and 70% higher than that of pure PVA, respectively. In addition to these advantages, the nanocomposite film showed a water vapour transmission property comparable with commercial food package film, indicating potential applications.
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MDPI / MDPI AG (Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute)