Cannabis Waste Disposal: Why It’s Important & 4 Common Methods

by | Oct 10, 2022

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Discover the responsible ways in which cannabis companies manage their product waste through effective cannabis waste disposal methods. Explore the challenges and innovations surrounding the proper disposal of cannabis waste, including composting, incineration, and more. Learn about the environmental impact of incorrect cannabis waste disposal and the importance of adhering to state regulations for a sustainable industry.

How Do Companies Handle Cannabis Waste Disposal?

cannabis waste disposal

In the United States, cannabis companies are responsible for cannabis waste disposal, just like any other business. However, no federal guidelines exist for how cannabis companies dispose of their product waste. This can pose a problem for cannabis companies because they have to figure out how to dispose of their product waste in a way that complies with state and local laws. Many cannabis companies choose to incinerate their product waste, but this disposal method is not always legal.

So what do these companies do with all their waste? Let’s find out!

What is Cannabis Waste?

Cannabis waste is any material leftover from the cultivation, processing, or packaging of cannabis. This includes trimming leaves, stems, and other plant matter; unused cannabis flowers; and packing materials. Cannabis companies must carefully eliminate this waste so they don’t pollute the environment or break the law.

4 Common Cannabis Waste Disposal Methods

Cannabis waste is a growing problem in the United States. Each year, millions of pounds of cannabis are grown, and a lot of waste comes with it. As the cannabis industry continues to grow, so does the amount of product waste that these companies generate.

cannabis waste disposal

While some product waste can be recycled or reused, a large portion still needs to be disposed of properly. So, how do cannabis companies like dispose of their product waste?

1.   In a Permitted Landfill

The most common disposal of cannabis product waste is in a permitted landfill. This is where companies will take their product waste and bury it in an approved location. Even though this method works, transporting product waste to a landfill can be expensive and take time.

2.   Composting

Another option for disposing of cannabis product waste is composting. This process involves breaking down organic matter into a nutrient-rich soil amendment. Cannabis products composed mainly of plant matter, such as trim or leaves, can be easily composted. But some cannabis products, like edibles or concentrates, might not be good for composting because they contain other things.

3.   In-vessel Digestion

In-vessel digestion is a newer method for disposing of cannabis product waste that is becoming more popular among companies. This process involves placing the product waste in an airtight container where it will decompose under controlled conditions. In-vessel digestion is generally more efficient and effective than traditional methods like composting.

4.   Incineration

Incineration is when the cannabis waste is burned at a high temperature until it becomes ash. This ash can then be safely disposed of in a landfill. Some companies will also use special filters to capture any pollutants released during incineration.

Some Important Points to Consider

Cannabis companies have to dispose of their product waste in various ways. Some waste can be recycled, but other parts of the plant must be thrown away.

Here are some key points to keep in mind when disposing of cannabis waste:

●      Only certain parts of the cannabis plant can be recycled. Marijuana seeds, for example, can be collected and reused by regulated businesses. However, the autoflower seeds and weed seeds must be thrown away.

●      It’s crucial to understand the requirements of your state’s laws when disposing of cannabis waste. In Vermont, for example, businesses that recycle consumer waste that has marijuana in it must follow certain rules.

cannabis waste disposal

Why Is Cannabis Waste Disposal Important?

●     Contamination

Cannabis waste can be contaminated with pesticides, herbicides, and other chemicals. If not disposed of correctly, these contaminants can leach into the soil and water, causing environmental damage and potentially harming people and animals that come into contact with them.

●     Fire Hazard

Cannabis waste is frequently highly flammable. Improperly disposing of cannabis waste can lead to wildfires, which can cause property damage, destroy natural habitats, and put people at risk.

●     Littering

Cannabis packaging and other waste products are often left littered in public places. This litter not only looks unsightly, but it can also harm wildlife if ingested, clog storm drains, and pollute waterways.

Wrapping Up

Cannabis waste can pose a serious environmental threat if not disposed of in the right way. Companies that sell cannabis have to get rid of their waste products safely and legally. To protect the environment, it is essential for cannabis companies to partner with a recycling company that specializes in handling cannabis waste.

Cannabis waste is dangerous in many ways, such as when it gets into the soil and water supply and harms aquatic life and plant species. However, some parts of cannabis waste can be recycled to produce a more environmentally-friendly by-product.