The environment has, without a doubt, become a main priority as the world as seen first-hand the changes brought on by global warming and human waste. A handful of cities have banned the use of plastic straws and bags, while other cities have resorted to reusable materials to cut production. Now think about the last time you bought cannabis, whether from a dispensary or from a delivery service, what happened to the plastic after you used it?
Getting Rid of Single-Use Plastics
Pre-rolls can come in tin cans or one-use doob tubes while other products commonly use non-disposable plastic for their products. Too often these cannabis packaging items are thrown away after only one use, which can really add up depending on how much you smoke. With the plastic pollution in the ocean becoming a growing problem in the world, companies have stepped up to create alternative solutions to this waste problem.
One way dispensaries have tackled this problem in the storefront is by using a recycling program. Many dispensaries require the patients to use a reusable zip-lock plastic bag to carry the packaged weed out of the dispensary. If you happen to forget your bag, the dispensary will charge you for another carry-out bag. This idea slightly lowers the amount of plastic use, but still entirely depends on the user. Another similar concept can be found in a dispensary in Seattle. Canna West Seattle encourages patients to bring in the empty packaging used to hold the marijuana back in so that they can use it again. This idea also relies heavily on the user’s memory, but still is a positive step in reducing plastic waste.
“We don’t think this is something only we should do, but we are really hoping to start the conversation,” Owner Maryam Minateghi told a local publication. “We are really hoping to create a better connection between the cannabis industry and the environment in general.”
Using Recycled Materials Instead of Plastic
A more popular option to combat plastic pollution has been to change the material itself. Metal straws have become a popular replacement for plastic, while other materials have been replaced for biodegradable materials. The idea is to simply take the plastic out of the conversation. Sun Grown Packaging (SGP) was the first company to file a patent for products that were recyclable, compostable, and child-resistant. SGP has partnered up with many dispensaries in the area to provide environment-friendly cannabis packaging for all types of products.
Colorado is also seeing many companies turn to sustainable options. Like GSP, Sana Packaging is changing the packaging material of their bags to be 100% hemp, which is biodegradable. Denver-based cannabis packaging company Funksac also uses fully recyclable materials to create pouches that are child-proof, eco-friendly and odorless. Another company, Higher Standard Packing, has created an eco-friendly cannabis packaging option using resin from recycled milk containers. This practice uses 90 percent less energy and emits 78 percent fewer greenhouses gases compared to plastic production.
Other companies aim to fight the “single-use’ culture that the cannabis industry has comfortable lived in for years. Most bags can only be used one time, and reusable bags are often left. Companies, such as CRATIV packaging and Nitrogen Cannabis Packaging, are changing the way cannabis is carried by producing packages that aren’t bags. CRATIVpackaging has created a storage case that can carry flower, prerolls, edibles, extracts and other cannabis products for months at a time. The case is about the size of a box of cigarettes and is childproof. Nitrogen Cannabis Packaging, however, has created an air seal can that will keep the cannabis products fresh inside. The can, which resembles a can of sardines, is both reusable and eco-friendly but is intended for long-term use.
These are just a few ways companies have protected the planet from more plastic. As cannabis continues to grow in popularity, these companies will have to adapt to new products from the marijuana industry, such as drink packaging. Nonetheless, the cannabis industry is recognizing the environmental impacts it is having on the planet and is taking steps towards fixing them. Hopefully, in the future, more companies will adopt these eco-friendly solutions.