Reducing Package and Product Waste in the Cannabis Industry

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Reducing Package and Product Waste in the Cannabis Industry. From as early as the 1960s, the concepts of cannabis and eco-responsibility have gone hand in hand. But even as the culture developed, these two concepts have always been closely linked. People who argue that it’s a natural flower or a practical textile tend to also appreciate waste-free long-lasting hemp products. Unfortunately, the single-serving and now highly regulated nature of packaging cannabis for personal use has led us in the wrong direction when it comes to eco-responsible policies.

Today, we’re addressing several different issues of waste and waste avoidance for cannabis manufacturing businesses.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Cannabis Packaging

Right now, cannabis packaging is among our most closely regulated and least conservative areas of the cannabis industry. We acknowledge that the steps taken to keep cannabis out of the hands of children and prevent intoxication behind the wheel are important. Child-proof containers and sealed serving bags make sense. But how can we reduce the landfill and carbon footprint while meeting these regulations?

Since we can’t reduce the use of packaging, that leaves us with reusing and recycling. Here’s what we can do:

  • Package Sourcing
    • Source packaging from recycled materials.
  • Package Recycling
    • Ensure that most cannabis packaging is realistically recyclable.
    • Provide customers ways to reuse some elements of packaging on return visits—or for other practical purposes.
    • Accept specialty recycling, the way grocery stores do for plastic bags.
  • Landfill Impact Reduction
    • Make packaging out of bio-degradable materials to reduce landfill impact.
    • Make packaging from compostable materials for at-home compost piles.

Reducing the Waste Involved in Disposable Vapes

Right now, vaped cannabis oil is primarily sold in 510 thread cartridges and disposable pens. Disposables are amazing for on-the-go circumstances and not worrying about your battery and gear away from home. But there are two major problems. The first is that disposable electronics are a blight on global conservation efforts including the rare earth metals required for every electronic device and battery. The second is that the battery of a disposable vape pen often runs out before the vape oil does a two-fold waste. Let’s look at some possible alternatives.

  • Almost-Disposable Pen Batteries
    • One option to reduce the waste of small batteries and electronics is the almost-disposable vape pen. These pens are already rising in popularity. Sometimes sold in packs of two, the pens screw their 510 ends into a USB plugin and charge up fairly quickly to power cart after cart.
    • However, these pens also cost about as much as the disposables and are easy to replace. This gives all the value of a disposable – not worrying about it being lost, broken, or stolen – without the waste of a one-use electronic item.
  • Detachable Disposables
    • To solve the matter of vape oil left behind in disposable pens, the best answer seems to be installing a simple 510 split between the disposable battery and tank.
    • This would allow people to buy the convenience of a disposable (or almost-disposable pen) and enjoy 100% of the cannabis oil they paid for.
    • Because nothing is more frustrating -or more poignantly wasteful – than your disposable battery running out when there’s still plenty of visible oil to vape.

Creating the Waste-Free Future We Wish to See

Right now, the cannabis industry is in a bind between the wasteful requirements of legal packaging and the desire of customers for convenience on the go. The best way to move forward on the issue is to frame the world we want to see. For decades, sci-fi authors have been defining our future by inspiring science and business to invent the concepts they imagined. Today, we can do the same by outlining the policies and impact we want to see – and then making it happen.

We can put our heads together on how to solve the disposable battery problem plaguing not just the cannabis industry, but the fate of many small electronics with wasted rare earth and metal components. 

The cannabis industry is always ready to find new ways to be eco-responsible, and MaxQ is here to help with the software solutions you need to run your cannabis business smoothly while implementing new and greener initiatives with each coming year.

Click here to download an evaluation checklist to see if your company has all the functionality of a complete Seed to Sale ERP solution, including the eco-friendly packaging requirements.

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