Now that cannabis is legal in Canada, consumers are taking notice at the amount of packaging that comes with it, and the cannabis players are starting to take note as well. Some estimate that the cannabis industry will produce about 1 billion units of plastic waste annually by 2020. As one Canadian cannabis consumer recently found in this article, there were 38 grams of packaging used to house just one gram of weed. That’s a lot of plastic.
So what do the cannabis smokers of the world do? Start with supporting cannabis producers and retailers that are using recyclable or compostable packaging whenever possible.
Companies like Canopy Growth Corporation (CGC) have begun to fund programs that help tackle the cannabis packaging problem head-on. There are also corporate partnerships working together, like the team at Tweed—a subsidiary of Smiths Falls-based cannabis producer Canopy Growth—who have partnered with recycling company TerraCycle to introduce the first Canada-wide cannabis packaging recycling program. TerraCycle for example is collecting the packaging, cleaning it and melting it down into pellets to make things like picnic tables and benches. How cool is that? Consumers can also send their packaging via UPS pick up for FREE when they register for Cannabis Packaging Recycling Program.
What can be recycled?
All outer packaging, inner packaging, tins, tubes, plastic bottles, and flexible plastic bags from any Canadian company that is licensed to sell cannabis.
Other initiatives that haven’t been tapped yet is product packaging made of hemp. Hemp is regulated under the Industrial Hemp Act in Canada and it can be used to create a variety of biodegradable products, however licensed producers have yet to opt for this environmentally-sustainable alternative. Companies like Sana Packaging, based in Colorado, are blazing a trail towards sustainable and compliant cannabis packaging. Sana has created and is currently piloting hemp-based, biodegradable and recyclable packaging that is compliant.
When it comes to the environment, we all can do better. Whether as an individual or as a company we need to strive to keep our environment clean and healthy for future generations to come. And that is not a half-baked idea.