- On August 23, 2019
- cannabis, containers, environmental, hemp, marijuana, packaging, plastic, recycle, recycling, sustainable, waste
The lack of sustainable packaging in the cannabis industry is becoming more of a concern as access to legal cannabis expands across the country. Marijuana-packaging regulations force cannabis manufacturers to be not only purveyors of weed but purveyors of plastic and other non-biodegradable materials.
In an effort to attract customer attention, many cannabis brands have gone beyond child-resistant packaging requirements and embraced the “unboxing” experience, creating complex packages that generate even more waste. Plus, there are all of those pre-rolls in plastic tubes, 1/8ths in plastic pop-top containers, vapes in multi-layer, mixed-material boxes, and, yes, individual sucker packaging — most of which ends up in the trash.
All of that cannabis packaging adds up. Roughly 36 million tons of packaging waste goes to landfills every year. To put that in perspective, that’s the equivalent of throwing out your bodyweight in packaging every 30-40 days.
What is Sustainability?
The UN World Commission on Environment and Development defines sustainability as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Basically, if humans want to have water, materials, and natural resources into the future, we need to address how we produce and consume what we have now.
The idea of sustainable packaging is to reduce the waste. This can involve increasing the life cycle of the packaging, creating more functional packaging, using materials that are more recyclable, and investing in future technologies that are eco-friendlier.
Impact of Packaging on the Environment
Since 1950, the production of plastic has skyrocketed, creating 8.3 billion metric tons of waste, most of which ends up in landfills or the ocean. That plastic pre-roll tube you picked up at the dispensary? It’ll take more than 450 years to degrade. Plastic that makes it into the ocean never fully biodegrades, breaking down into microplastics that fish and other marine life mistake for food. A recent study found that by 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in the oceans.
Mountain High Suckers’ Plan
Our partners at Mountain High Suckers don’t want to be part of the packaging problem. We all value feedback from our customers, and you’ve told us that sustainable packaging is important to you. Trust us, we’ve seen it too. Trash cans overflowing with single-use paper and plastic wrappers and containers aren’t an uncommon sight at cannabis events and social consumption lounges.
While reduce, reuse, recycle is important, we know it’s about more than what happens to a container after it’s used–it’s about using more environmentally sustainable packaging in the first place. We’re working in tandem with Calyx Containers to upgrade Mountain High Suckers’ lozenge / sweet pieces bottles packaging, which contains the most plastic, as soon as possible. Look for them with a new style on shelves soon! We’re also currently looking into options to improve the recyclability of single serving sucker packaging too.
Colorado 420 Websites’ Role
With more than four years working within the cannabis industry for more than 50 different cannabis and hemp based businesses, our design crew has experienced it all. We keep a close eye on state regulations and work hand-in-hand with local design shops who specialize in cannabis packaging.
More importantly, our level-headed design team has the discipline and patience to work through the multiple rounds of testing, revisions, and rejections that always come along with designing for cannabis compliance. Mountain High Suckers has had the patience to endure more than 500 revisions(!) to their own packaging and the brand has proven to stand the test of time.
We’re working with Mountain High Suckers to establish a design that suits regulatory and the new sustainable packaging needs without compromising on brand and style.
Moving toward sustainability is definitely a huge task and it requires everyone moving toward a more balanced environment. We aim to encourage our partners and competitors to make the choice to switch to more recyclable materials and are proud of Mountain High Suckers for making their first move towards more environmentally friendly packaging!