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Plastic Waste and the Cannabis Industry

Plastic Waste and the Cannabis Industry

There are many rules that apply to cannabis packaging, and in order to comply with regulations restricting access to minors, advertising requirements, and other industry restrictions, much of the packaging related to cannabis cannot  be recycled. California law requires that all products including disposable vape pens, pre-rolls, flower, cartridges and more, be in child-proof packaging. California policy also states that cannabis packaging must be tamper-proof, child-proof, and resealable (for multi-use products). This means that there is now a surplus of single-use plastics in the cannabis industry, and as sales increase, so will the plastic waste generated from these products. 

In addition, most recycling facilities will not accept cannabis waste because, while cannabis is legal in many states, cannabis is still not federally legal. The expectations for cannabis packaging need to change with the times and society’s heightening interest in environmental sustainability. Cannabis dispensaries and product manufacturers in particular can make a tremendous difference for the environment and in consumer mentality surrounding plastic waste. Here are some helpful strategies for implementing sustainable cannabis packaging:

Make Reusable Packaging

Consumers love the convenience of buying multipurpose products. Using packaging that can be used for other purposes, or that can accommodate other items, can be a good way encourage reuse instead of throwing it in the trash. Commonly reused packaging includes mason jars, paper bags, and boxes. Using multi-purpose packaging for your products also shows that you value environmental health and utility.

Use Hemp-Based Packaging

A sustainable packaging alternative is also hemp paper or sustainable bioplastics made from hemp. Hemp paper and bioplastics are lightweight and biodegradable. Using hemp and other sustainable materials in your cannabis packaging can save valuable resources and prevent more trash from ending up in landfills. 

Consider How You Use Your Packaging

Think about the different packaging materials each item uses and if there is anything you can do without. When it comes to sustainable packaging, less is more, so finding new ways to minimize waste is always a good thing. For example, instead of putting informational inserts or labels about your products into the product packaging, try using a foldout box that also has informational material printed on the inside. The concept of this effort is simple: the less packaging that is thrown in the trash, the less that will eventually end up in a landfill.

With the rising awareness of environmental issues, there has been a significant cultural shift toward using sustainable materials and solutions for all aspects of everyday life. Consumers are looking for green products and companies more than ever before, and they want to support eco-friendly businesses. Cannabis is rapidly becoming one of the largest industries in the country, which means industry leaders should consistently monitor the environmental impact of their business.

For dispensaries, labs, and manufacturers in Southern California, our Santa Fe Springs office is prepared to design and implement a plan to help you better manage your packaging and marijuana waste. Contact us to learn how we can implement a recycling and cannabis waste management program for your facility.

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