Legal, commercial cannabis, and cannabis products have given people around the U.S. incredible new opportunities, broken down stigma and bias, and helped heal countless individuals. Despite the hundreds of examples of the miraculous power of the cannabis industry, one problem has plagued growers, retailers, and customers since the first cannabis businesses opened their doors: waste.
Post-consumer and industrial waste and pollution are among the largest threats to the environment’s health, overrunning natural ecosystems with plastic and toxic chemicals. Because commercial cannabis companies must adhere to strict packaging requirements, the cannabis industry now produces enormous packaging waste. However, little has been done to divert it.
Here, we will share a few details on how the cannabis industry impacts our environment. Some examples include eco-friendly efforts spearheaded by cannabis businesses and a few tips for becoming a more conscious, eco-friendly cannabis consumer.
Is the Cannabis Industry Eco-Friendly?
Previously, society closely associated cannabis with hippies, or so-called ‘tree huggers.’ However, widespread commercialization of cannabis is helping fade the stigma of rejection. Today, very few people think of cannabis as a plant medicine. Most consumers can mentally remove nature from the equation of enjoying marijuana. While it is clear weed is not just for Earth-loving environmentalists, this deviation from a natural world connection has helped turn cannabis into a highly essential product; complete with extensive packaging is as much for aesthetics as it is for protection.
Not only are cannabis products packaged to keep them fresh, but the aesthetic packaging also helps improve branding and boosts sales. The attractive packaging must also comply with anti-tamper and child-proofing standards. As a result, most cannabis operators package their products in several hard plastic layers, which are rarely reusable. Though these items are often recyclable, many consumers do not realize they could be recycling their cannabis packaging. Worse yet, cannabis companies do little to combat the issue either, producing and selling products and packaging without finding solutions for the waste that accompanies the sales.
What Are Sustainable Business Practices?
Although most cannabis companies have yet to implement waste reduction and sustainability practices, it is not too late to make small changes. For the better of the world and everyone in it, here are some sustainable business habits that any cannabis company can practice include:
Adopting Plastic Negative Initiatives
There is far more to be done if there is a hope of combating climate change. Some cannabis companies have already taken the initiative to turn their practices eco-friendly. Mana Botanics, a Hawaii-based hemp company, works to preserve the environment with their plastic negative approach. Ultimately, reducing waste while supporting local communities working to make a difference.
Reducing Plastic Waste and Recycling
Wherever possible, companies should aim to reduce their use of plastic. While the cannabis industry must meet specific sanitation and safety standards, there are ample opportunities for companies to transition to non-petroleum based materials hemp-based plastic from sustainable packaging suppliers, like Sana Packaging. Until it becomes possible to transition away from plastic packaging fully, companies should do their best to offer their customers recycling programs.
Using Regenerative Farm Practices
Traditional single-crop farming strips the soil of its natural nutritional value, making it difficult for new crops to grow or for microorganisms to survive. Cannabis growers interested in preserving the planet’s health should consider transitioning to regenerative farming practices, which focuses on rebuilding damaged ecosystems and soil health.
Donating to Eco-Friendly Organizations
On top of reducing the company’s dependence on plastic, consider donating to other organizations that actively combat pollution and climate change. Regard donating a portion of the proceeds to a favorite green organization – the company’s customers will love making a difference too!
Promoting Fair Wages for All Employees
A ‘fair wage’ allows employees to live a decent, comfortable, but not luxurious life complete with all necessary health amenities and general happiness. Promoting fair wages for employees means ensuring the business’ employees are adequately compensated and demanding fair wages for people working in other countries or partner companies. Fair wages help nations with lower median income increase public prosperity while also increasing the price of the items they produce. As a result, people in countries with a higher median income purchase fewer items, thereby creating less waste.
How Can You Be An Eco-Friendly Cannabis Consumer?
If you love cannabis and the environment and want to be more conscious of your consumption, consider supporting companies working to promote green, healthy living. Hawaiian CBD company, Mana Botanics, is a great place to start if you’d like to test out premium hemp products and support eco-friendly initiatives at the same time.
The cannabis industry has the opportunity to be a market leader when it comes to reducing waste. More and more cannabis companies are developing sustainability into their business models. The sustainable practices above are small steps with big impacts.
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