Increasing Sustainability in the Cannabis Industry

In the two years since the legalisation of recreational Cannabis in Canada, the legal Cannabis industry has earned the country $3.96 billion. While that economic boost is something to be celebrated, the less positive flip side is that industry has also had a consistently negative impact on the environment. 

There’s no doubt that cannabis cultivation generates a lot of waste but the biggest villain in this story of unsustainable industry practices is cannabis packaging. 

Think about how many times you’ve had to dig through layers of cannabis packaging. Many licensed producers, retailers and consumers agree that the typical packaging for Cannabis products is excessive but the matter is much more toxic than that. It’s also hazardous to the environment. 

A CBC report states that for every gram of Cannabis sold, there can be as much as 70 grams of waste produced. This is primarily due to the strict requirements Health Canada has for packaging, which has to be tamper-proof, child resistant, smell proof, water proof, among other things. These rules mean that many Cannabis-focus enterprises are not incentivised to move to more eco-friendly packaging options, concerned more with meeting the governmental requirements. 

So, a lot of the Cannabis industry isn’t so green. But there are some ways the industry can integrate more sustainable practices to reduce its carbon footprint.

Incorporating more biodegradable materials at all stages of the packaging and merchandise production processes will probably go the furthest to increase the green-factor of the industry and culture at large, and this is something that even brands can do in their own ways. 

Using natural, sustainable ingredients in Cannabis products eases the impact of production on the environment. Many Cannabis products like creams and beverages contain palm oil - an ingredient whose cultivation process is incredibly harmful to the environment, as it requires incredible deforestation, causes soil degradation and emits greenhouse gases (among other things). 

As part of our own commitment to provide natural products that are good for you and the environment, we keep our products all natural and palm-oil free. In fact, our commitment to sustainability extends to our clothes too. Our Earth Kisses Sky Sweaters are chemical free and made from hemp and 100% organic cotton. Hemp is a great sustainable alternative for a number of reasons; Hemp cloth is stronger, more durable, warmer and more absorbent than cotton. Plus, in most parts of Canada, Hemp cultivation requires no herbicide, fungicide or insecticide applications.

With more brands and industry insiders taking similar steps to increase their eco-friendliness, the nature of the Cannabis industry can be transformed to create a cleaner, greener industry for the benefit of consumers and the environment at large. 

Envisioning a More Eco-Friendly Industry 

Cannabis legalisation in Canada comes with great benefits to the economy, and awful cost to the environment. While there are various measures the industry can adopt to be more eco-friendly, the fight for a greener industry for a healthier environment is one consumers have to participate in as well. So, how can we come together and combine our collective powers to be more conscious? Read on to discover some great alternatives to packaging and unsustainable cannabis habits. 

 

Invest in Sustainable Sesh ware

If you’ve been looking to make your Cannabis routines greener, you’re in for a treat here. Using recyclable, biodegradable, plastic-free, non GMO sesh ware like bongs, pipes and trays are one excellent way to make your sessions more sustainable. Reusable packaging is a great alternative to the mass produced, seldom-recycled single use cardboard packaging that dominate the current market. For example, MIRON is a uniquely designed glass material used in packaging, whose natural properties preserve and improve the quality of products it holds. We believe in it so much that we use MIRON for all our own multi purpose packaging jars that are great for long after your product has run out. They can be used as planters for cute little gifts, stash jars and even spice savers. 

Organic pre-roll cones and rolling papers also go a way to be more eco-friendly. Sustainably farmed, natural pre-roll cones are much better alternatives than the mainstream pre-roll options, benefitting not only the environment by reducing the staggering amounts of waste that the Cannabis production cycle generates, but also the consumer and their experience with their products. 

Supporting legal Cannabis brands that use eco-friendly equipment, material and production methods, or support environmentally conscious causes is one major way patients and consumers can contribute to creating a more sustainable industry and culture. 

Industries need to Commit to Sustainable Packaging

It is actually possible to create compliant, eco-friendly packaging options. As mentioned above, Cannabis packaging could be made of glass instead of plastic, and reused as often as desired, without compromising on packaging standards. Remember our reusable jars? They’re not only recyclable but also air tight and leak proof, maintaining the required packaging standards for our kinds of products. And this sort of thing has actually shown up in other large industries -- craft beer producers use "growlers", or, glass jugs that can be reused and refilled with beer in order to reduce the waste produced by aluminium cans and glass bottles. Hemp is another ideal packaging alternative to the cardboard + plastic combination that’s dominated the mainstream market. Even accessories like lighters and matches can be de-prioritised for more natural and affordable options like Hemp Wick - said to provide a healthier Cannabis experience for consumers by sparing them from the butane, glue and wood they would ordinarily be exposed to and helping resolve the issue of discarded lighters and matches.

If more brands and industries made the decision to produce sustainably sourced, eco-friendly merchandise that stayed consistent with the standards set by institutions, the issue of Cannabis-produced waste may be controlled.