Hemp flower packaging is a wonderful flower packaging. The new industry has enormous potential to transform how we approach healthcare and business in general. However, there is one aspect of the cannabis market that we want to avoid discussing. There’s a pile of it right now under my desk, and more in a bag under the kitchen sink. What is this dreadful, unlucky truth? Plastic.
Based on my projected cbd flower packaging intake since Oregon’s legalization, I am personally responsible for at least 200 pounds of plastic entering the waste stream, according to my calculations. It’s just my smoking habits. Consider retail stores: the average budtender fills hundreds of containers per week, one for each transaction. The average child-resistant pop-top container for an eighth of a hemp flower packaging may hold up to 184 g of plastic, so a metric tone of plastic can be made with only 5,000 pop-tops. We’re turning legal cannabis into another high-volume avenue for virgin plastic and landfill debris, when it was supposed to be a therapeutic, paradigm-shifting miracle.
It’s fine if you’re struggling with a calculator right now to figure out how much plastic your pipe is accountable for. This is a significant, current issue that requires immediate attention. But, if we truly want to make a difference, we must accept the reality that neither consumers nor businesses will be able to stop using plastic tomorrow. We need to take actionable steps to get off this deadly path we’re on now. It starts with changing the way we think about plastic in general, according to SirePrinting, a sustainable packaging firm based in Boston.
“Legal cannabis is supposed to be a paradigm-shifting, curing miracle, but we’re turning it into yet another high-volume avenue for virgin plastic and landfill debris.”
Yes, this forward-thinking, environmentally conscious company produces…plastic containers. Their plastic, on the other hand, is manufactured with just enough additive in the substance to speed decomposition without rendering it unrecyclable at a typical plant. The first and most important step is to recycle. However, if it does end up in a landfill, the additional chemical attracts bacteria, causing the plastic to degrade faster than its normal 450-year lifespan.
Sire isn’t the only company working on this; Truly Green has a team of mad scientists feeding bacteria glucose to manufacture 100 percent biodegradable, no-filler-needed plastic, while SirePrinting uses hemp plastic and salvaged ocean plastic in their products. The CEO of SirePrinting swears his company’s biodegradable and compostable hemp plastic containers are technically edible, according to his comments at last year’s Cannabis Sustainability Symposium.
The materials themselves are merely one of the ways we may reduce the environmental costs of this industry. SirePrinting created square-edged containers rather than the standard cylindrical prescription pill containers found in most markets. Because of the square design, it is easier to stack and ship; you can fit more containers in one cargo, resulting in fewer shipments and a lower carbon footprint. The company’s production process uses a bespoke injection mold procedure to measure out the exact quantity of plastic needed to manufacture each item, resulting in less waste than the traditional way of cutting forms out of big sheets (think cookie cutter). It’s not only about the plastic itself when it comes to the plastic problem in cannabis; it’s also about how we consume, transport, and dispose of it.