Wasted: Plastic Packaging, Biomass & Throw-Away Vapes | Project CBD

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There is a waste disposal problem in the cannabis industry. Whether it is rough solvents used in the manufacturing process, remaining biomass must be destroyed, or legal marijuana that requires additional packaging so that children (or competent stone throwers) cannot open the product, it will cause a lot of waste. Ton.

What is shocking is how many packages are used to sell some legitimate products. Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

It is recommended that one gram of weed be sold in a Canadian licensed store opened in 2018 by a legal cannabis store in Canada, which can generate close to 100 grams of packaging waste.

The problem of excessive cannabis wastage stems from the legacy of criminalization, which has now proven to be unnecessary over-regulation. Paradoxically, over-regulation of marijuana is generating a lot of extra garbage.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

For consumers, disposable packaging may be the most obvious waste problem. Walking on the sidewalk near a cannabis dispensary in Los Angeles or Seattle, you will most likely see small plastic tubes and tamper-proof bags, which are much larger than previously stored. The main purpose behind the disposable packaging is to more strictly monitor and control the sales of the factory, but it creates a huge problem of excessive waste, that is, only one gram or a single pre-rolled joint can use its own plastic container.

The problem of excessive cannabis wastage stems from the legacy of criminalization, which has now proven to be unnecessary over-regulation. Over-regulation of marijuana will generate a lot of extra garbage.

Data provided by the cannabis data analysis company Headset shows that by 2020, California has sold 32.5 million "units" of cannabis prerolls. (In this case, a unit may mean a single pre-roll in a plastic tube or as many as 10-20 pre-rolls in a carton.) Last year, in Golden State, 53.6 million packages full of child protection containers were also sold The neatly trimmed shoots. The oversized plastic packaging of these "units" usually ends up in roadside rubbish or rubbish in the dump.

The states that legalized cannabis require a large number of labels for each product, such as health warnings, identification numbers, soil and other crop production inputs, as well as test information and cannabinoid ingredients. According to these labeling requirements, according to the

, And most of them are transported to landfills. "The biggest problem with packaging and labeling is the numerous regulations that lead to the use of redundant packaging to accommodate all the items on the product,"


Colorado regulators recently passed

This makes it easier for marijuana consumers to recycle trash associated with hidden objects. Pharmacies in the Centennial State are now allowed to provide packaging containers in their lobbies. January 2021,

, A cannabis dispensary in San Jose,

, Implemented a similar recycling program. But this is the exception, not the rule.

Due to the complexity of the current legalization system, there is no central agency to track cannabis waste in most states, let alone nationwide.


, Has three independent state agencies and has developed its own waste management regulations for different parts of the cannabis production process. Canada does not track the packaging of cannabis waste at all.

A few start-up companies have regarded the huge waste problem as a green business opportunity. Ron Basak-Smith, one of the young entrepreneurs behind

, Talked to Project

Regarding his company's efforts to develop one of the few brands based solely on sustainable packaging of hemp products. He and his partner James Eicher are both fresh graduates of the business school. They are using hemp, recycled ocean plastics and other non-petroleum-based materials to establish a closed-loop business model that does not generate waste, and Recycle its packaging materials for reuse. Use (for non-biodegradable plastic) or discard in a way that will not accelerate contamination.

If hemp producers are using regenerative agricultural practices to grow their products, then they need to consider things like packaging as an extension.

This model is based on the "Ellen MacArthur Foundation"

"The purpose is to design waste and pollution from an economic point of view, while maintaining the continuous use of materials and helping to regenerate natural systems. Basak-Smith said that so far, Sana Packaging has worked with 370 customers, most of which are

There are also a few people in Canada, Puerto Rico and Guam.

Basak-Smith said: “If (marijuana producers) use renewable agricultural practices to grow their products, they need to think about packaging and other things.” “You don’t want to be between producers and consumers at the point of sale due to unsustainable packaging. There is a disconnect. It's all a bigger picture."

Another business of hemp packaging innovation is

, A packaging company based in Oakland, works directly with customers to design sustainable custom packaging made of fully compostable materials. According to the company’s website, “its printing process uses water-based paint and soy ink, and we are proud to be able to source materials domestically.”

The Colorado-based PolyCanna company emphasizes sustainable packaging options for cannabis sources and creative recycling and reuse strategies to reduce cannabis-related waste. "The main focus now is PolyCanna

Tyler Couch told

"While we are integrating bioplastics, we are finding feasible solutions for the disposable oil-based plastics currently owned by the industry. The trick is to find a way so that disposable plastics will never reach the ocean or landfills."

As the industry develops, new forms of cannabis consumption may require new packaging and proper waste disposal methods. Vape cartridges are a typical example. Few people thought of this problem ten years ago, but now it poses a challenge to advocates of sustainable development.

In 2019

Is a major cannabis producer located in Santa Rosa,

, Modify its manufacturing process to protect children's vape cartridges without adding additional disposable plastic-innovation

Responsible by the California Department of Public Health. CannaCraft produces 2 million vape cartridges every year.

California and other states prohibit recycling plants from accepting waste that has been in contact with cannabis products.

According to Headset data, 27.8 million plastic vape "units" were sold in California the following year. But when

The Arcata-based company tried to initiate a repurchase program to allow customers to return used vape cartridges to the pharmacy, and California's erroneous regulations made the program infeasible.

Vape retailers have

Figure out how to dispose of ink cartridges-inevitably, they will end up in landfills because California and other states prohibit recycling plants from accepting waste that comes in contact with hemp products. Based in Sacramento

Last year, the company sponsored an art exhibition made entirely of vape cartridges to raise awareness of the issue. At the same time, California’s proposed legislation aims to address similar waste generated by smoking.


Business in New Jersey

A national recycling program has been established for vape cartridges and other types of cannabis packaging. This is part of the company's larger mission, which works with businesses and local governments that seek to dispose of waste that is difficult to recycle, such as coffee bags and other plastics. Terracycle operates various recycling programs in 21 countries, but its only waste program for cannabis is in Canada.

In 1988, Francis Young (Francis Young)

The Chief Administrative Law Judge of the United States unexpectedly (accurately) declared in a non-binding legal opinion that cannabis “in its natural form is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to mankind” and “much more than what we usually consume Food is safer.” But in states where cannabis is legalized, regulators continue to treat this herb as a deadly radioactive poison that must be handled and disposed of in a special way.

Several companies are developing cannabis-derived solutions to solve the problem of waste in the cannabis industry that is ignored or exacerbated by national regulations.

Just as many state regulations require excessive packaging of cannabis and prohibit its proper recycling, cannabis biomass can be difficult to dispose of. This is not because it is a dangerous inorganic material, but because in many states, red tape does not allow mixing waste from evil weeds with other materials. Take Illinois as an example

Any producer who wants to destroy hemp waste must notify the Agricultural and State Police Departments, and employees of the agricultural department or other state agencies may also be present during the destruction. The craziness of the freezer never seems to end.

Realizing that time-consuming compost is not an effective disposal method for many cultivators,

Headquartered in Vancouver, Canada, said it has found a solution to the cumbersome regulations regarding the disposal of cannabis biomass. The company's "hemp" method is mainly to crush hemp waste into water, and then mix it with microorganisms and enzymes until it can be used as water to irrigate hemp crops. The process does not emit methane-which is a problem with other methods of obtaining produced water-the company claims that once all the "active pharmaceutical ingredients" in crops are removed, the water can also be returned to municipal sewage.

Several other companies are developing cannabis-derived solutions to solve the waste problem in the cannabis industry that is ignored or exacerbated by national regulations.

In Butte County

It can produce unique, cardboard-like composite materials made of hemp and mushroom mycelium, suitable for shaping or molding packaging materials and other uses, not only for hemp products, but also for a variety of commodities.

Paradise Packaging co-founder Ciaran McCarthy told Project that the hemp mushroom composite is "100% bio-based and 100% compostable."

. "It is also waterproof and fireproof."

In addition to packaging and shipping containers for a variety of products (including cannabis tinctures and wine bottles), Paradise Packaging also sells biodegradable, mushroom/cannabis compound seed starters and cannabis clone planters.

McCarthy said: "This material is in great demand." McCarthy appreciates the amazing versatility of low-resin industrial hemp, which has thousands of potential uses. We should also add a sustainable, cannabis-based packaging to alleviate the growing waste problem generated by the cannabis industry.

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Prior to the passage of Proposition 64 in 2016, the huge underground cannabis economy was woven into the commercial structure of California, which legalized cannabis for adult use. Transforming a shady industry with a multi-billion dollar market value into a tax-heavy and regulated structure will present unique and enormous challenges. Who will win and who will lose under the new system? Will the expected fiscal dividends brought about by legalization be widely distributed throughout the Golden State?

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