It’s no secret that the cannabis industry isn’t the most eco-friendly. Recent reports have revealed that indoor grows are actually putting carbon gases in the air. With that in mind, there have been a number of efforts to ensure this industry provides sustainable solutions.
However, one of the most notable that often goes undiscussed is the packaging. Most legal dispensaries provide customers with either plastic bags or containers to store their newly purchased cannabis. In accordance with the law, these packages must be child-proof which requires special kinds of plastic. And these plastics aren’t always recyclable.
To further the problem, the average consumer doesn’t even know this and often places such material in the recycling bin anyway. While this doesn’t necessarily do harm, it does require recycling facilities to sort out the material and eventually dump it in a landfill. So, in the long-run, such negligence leads to further costs in waste disposal.
Still, the blame can’t be placed on the consumer’s end – for they are only trying to do their part in a much larger problem. Instead, the complications must be handled either at a government level or by cannabis businesses themselves. And one business has sought out to make an effort.
Niagra Herbalists, located in St. Catharines, Ontario in Canada, has recently started a packaging buyback program. To put it simply, customers of the dispensary are able to earn store credit whenever they bring back old packaging from previous purchases. While the store credit isn’t anything too noteworthy (about 10 Canadian cents per glass jar or bottle), it’s been enough to get this program off the ground.
The program launched on November 15th, 2021 and is the first legal cannabis store to incorporate such efforts. However, it’s not the first cannabis business to do so – both Canopy Growth and TerraCycle also have recycling programs that launched back in 2019.
Still, being the size and scope of those brands, it’s likely Niagra Herbalists’ efforts will be more successful at a local level. For one, they’re able to educate consumers on what can and cannot be recycled within this industry. Secondly, they’re rewarding customers for taking the right steps in diminishing the waste cannabis consumption produces.
If more cannabis dispensaries were to take similar actions, we’ll have a much better chance at reducing the amount of environmental impact this industry currently has on the planet.