These companies are making great strides in changing the big plastic problem that is legal cannabis.
There are strict guidelines for packaging legal cannabis, and it involves a lot of waste. With the growing status of plastic waste as a hot-button issue, consumers, as well as producers seeking to boost their green credentials, have been pressing for hemp alternatives to single-use plastic.
Typically, regulations require that cannabis containers must be resealable and childproof. To date, the standard solution has been to use pharmacy-style, single-use, plastic containers. The restrictive regulations mean that one of the most common complaints from consumers in legal cannabis markets is excessive packaging.
The problem of plastic waste has been big news this year. Especially after being popularized by the David Attenborough documentary Our Planet. The series documents the disastrous environmental consequences of plastic waste ending up in the oceans.
Hansen Packaging believe they have a solution in the form of their new range of hemp alternative jars designed specifically for cannabis. The company made their name producing cardboard products such as mailing tubes, but recently branched into the cannabis industry with their new Compostable Jars.
The new brand includes a full range of packing solutions for cannabis flower, pre-rolls, and edibles. As the name suggests, their products are compostable and made from renewable resources – namely, hemp – which allows for environmentally responsible end of life disposal.
Hansen’s hemp plastics are made from “99% new carbon,” recovered from hemp-industry waste, and zero-carbon, food-safe, bio-composite resins.
The packaging is drastically lighter – the 3.5g Flower Jar weighs just 18g, including lid, as opposed to 74 grams for standard solutions. Hansen says this would add up to a reduction of 1.2 million pounds of plastic for every 10 million jars, translating directly to reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
The Cannabis Industry Has a Recycling Problem
Hansen aren’t the only company hoping to make the cannabis industry greener. While hemp alternatives are a great start, regular plastics aren’t going away any time soon. So, one company is stepping in to make it a lot easier to recycle cannabis packaging.
Back in April, Packaging Insights reported on TerraCycle’s launch of the first Canada-wide cannabis packaging recycling program. The program accepts used cannabis containers from any Canadian licensed producer, including pre-roll tubes, childproof bottles, tins, and plastic bags.
TerraCycle told Packaging Insights that municipal recycling facilities view many types of plastic as non-recyclable due to the complexity of recycling certain items, such as childproof bottles. However, they say that “the material can absolutely be recycled.”
Rather than leaving cannabis packaging to end up in landfill, TerraCycle melts down waste plastic into pellets which are used to create new recycled products. As of April, their program operates from 106 cannabis retail stores in Canada and has saved over 165,000 containers from ending up in landfills.
Cleaning Up the Oceans With Cannabis
In a move that David Attenborough will surely welcome, Sana Packaging are producing a line of cannabis packaging solutions made from plastic reclaimed from the ocean.
Their line includes the Sana Tube, designed for prerolls, vape pens, vape cartridges, and the Sana Container. The container features a removable lid which doubles as a rolling tray. It works for flowers, edibles, concentrates, and vape cartridges. The company also produces a line of made to order hemp paperboard packaging.
Sana boasts that its products are “child-resistant certified, odor resistant, and made from 100% plant-based hemp plastic and 100% reclaimed ocean plastic.”
Making Music With Hemp Guitars
While legal cannabis clearly has a plastic problem, the industry still comprises a tiny fraction of total plastic waste. As such, one man is on a mission to show how hemp can make up, well, nearly anything.
Morris Beegle is president of WAFBA (We Are For Better Alternatives) and a tireless advocate for the hemp industry. Beegle operates a merchandising company called TreeFreeHemp which produces hemp-based alternatives including DVD sleeves, business cards, flyers, and posters.
His most innovative product is a line of custom-built guitars. Every possible component is hemp, even the body and volume knobs.
“It’s kind of a novelty thing,” Beegle told Forbes, “but at the same time it’s an educational piece using the whole array of tools to show that, hey, hemp can do all these things.”
CBD Producer Branches Out Into Hemp Plastic
Elixinol are best known for their line of CBD products, including CBD cosmetics. However, under the leadership of co-Founder and Chairman Paul Benhaim, the business is branching out. Especially with their latest venture The Hemp Plastic Company.
Benhaim has already made a splash Down Under with his company Hemp Foods Australia, and has now turned his attention to hemp plastics.
Elixinol Global says it’s ready to “revolutionize the multibillion dollar parts and packaging industry.”
They’ll do so by offering a range of hemp alternative plastics. These are suitable for toys, car parts, games consoles, packaging, and more.
Innovation is Nothing Without Responsible Purchasing
While regular plastics remain cheaper, it’s likely that most companies will continue to use it. As cannabis consumers and entrepreneurs, we have an important role to play. That means looking out for companies who are pushing environmentally sound alternatives, and rewarding them with our custom.
Let’s all try to do our part and make the cannabis industry even greener.