Does Cannabis Have a Plastic Problem?

By Rolling Up


Even though the legalization of marijuana is exciting, it does come with a cost. As a society, we face a huge problem when it comes to waste. We face a severe recycling problem and pollution crisis and we are on track to tripling our global plastic production by 2050. Approximately 25 percent of packaging takes up the landfill in California. The problem with plastic is that we have been accustomed to it our daily lives and have seen it as normal. 


Cannabis companies are faced with a complex problem when it comes to packaging products. It’s required that they use more plastic than manufacturers in other sectors to adhere to childproofing requirements. Nearly every state that has legalized marijuana has child-resistant packaging requirements on the books.


The increase in waste will continue as profits rise. It shows no signs of slowing down. Nationwide cannabis sales are projected to hit $30 billion by the year 2023. Despite what we are taught, the majority of recycling that goes to the waste facility isn’t recycled. Material is only recyclable if someone wants to purchase it and turn it into something new. Otherwise, it ends up in the landfill. 


The need to develop sustainable packaging is necessary and requires radical solutions in all industries, not just the cannabis industry. Current compliance rules makes it impossible not to use plastics, but there are packaging alternatives when it comes to packaging cannabis such as aluminum tins. 


There are companies making a difference and spreading positive change when it comes to cannabis waste with loyalty recycling programs. Change must happen on a state and federal level in order and packaging innovations will hopefully have a chance to prosper in a plastic filled world.

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