The cannabis industry is built around its cultivation and selling of the plant. Therefore, there is an ethical responsibility to the environment. As a leading industry in holistic wellness and healing, we must acknowledge the amount of work necessary for sustainability within cannabis.
Companies can begin to approach sustainability by investing in eco-friendly cannabis packaging options. Here are five eco-friendly packaging solutions for cannabis products.
#1: Hemp Materials
As the cannabis industry is truly beginning to take off, there is potential to deliver a product with minimal impact on the environment. Hemp packaging may help make sales much more sustainable rather than leading down a path to more harmful waste.
Delivering cannabis products in hemp packaging is a potentially sustainable way to produce cannabis products. In the recent United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, scientists recommended having carbon emissions by 2030 to prevent serious consequences from global warming.
But – if the rapidly increasing cannabis market relies on outdated paper and plastic packaging, it could counteract attempts to reduce carbon footprints.
Cannabis retailers can reduce environmental waste by looking for hemp packaging solutions.
#2: Ocean-Reclaim Plastics
Another eco-friendly packaging is created out of plastic reclaimed from the ocean. Sana Packaging is the cannabis industry’s first cannabis packaging made from 100% ocean-bound and reclaimed ocean plastic. This type of sustainable packaging is changing the narrative of how the cannabis industry thinks about disposable products and waste recovery.
This packaging aims to transition cannabis packaging away from a linear “use and dispose of” economic model and towards a circular economic model meant to eliminate waste and pollution, keep products and materials in use, and regenerate our natural systems.
In a recent email, Sana Packaging reported that since their inception, they have reclaimed more than 177 tons of ocean plastic & ocean-bound plastic and used over 80 tons of plant-based hemp plastic. It's also noteworthy to mention that Sana Packaging is USA-made and can provide a solution for cannabis producers having trouble with supply chain problems.
#3: Biodegradable Packaging
Biodegradable materials easily break down in the environment with the help of natural decomposers. From plastic bags and containers to papers and bio-safe cardboard, biodegradable materials are common in today's retail businesses.
The degradation process of cardboard needs a short amount of time and uses minimal resources. The biodegradable material is quickly and easily biodegraded into the environment and does not last long like plastic or other synthetic materials. Plastic and other non-degradable material continue to cause severe damage to the environment.
As a cannabis business, social responsibility and environmental stewardship mean seeking these alternate solutions to the increasing problems of traditional packaging options.
#4: Compostable Materials
The term “compostable” describes a product that can be broken down into natural elements. These are plant-based materials that are environmentally built for the composting process. They also disintegrate at a rate consistent with organic materials.
Because “biodegradable” is an unregulated term, it can simply imply being eco-friendly while actually being the opposite sometimes. By comparison, compostable materials are environmentally superior. Being compostable truly indicates that the material has natural elements to break down into the soil.
Compostable materials are simply organic materials that break down, the end product being to use beneficial uses such as fertilizing. The most crucial benefit of compostable materials is that they don’t leave any toxic residue since they are all organic. Biodegradable materials are different – they refer to any material that can break down into the environment. Unlike compostable materials, biodegradable items can take years to break down and at times leave toxic waste behind.
#5: Glass Packaging
Glass is a decent material option for cannabis packaging with properties that enhance the product and help preserve quality. The durability of glass makes it a good match for cannabis storage. Most glass containers are air-tight and can regulate humidity levels to prevent mold growth and terpene degradation.
Glass is sturdy and multi-functional, making it the most stable of all packaging materials. Glass containers are also reusable and relatively easy to recycle for cannabis packaging.
Glass not only offers longer-lasting flower preservation, but it can also benefit cannabis extracts for the same reasons.
The Future of Sustainable Cannabis Packaging
With so many factors complicating what it means to be a “green” company, businesses must convey an environmental conscience to consumers.
Consumers first see the packaging when they experience a product, so it's essential for sharing a sustainability message. Selecting sustainable materials for cannabis packaging demonstrates an awareness of environmental concerns.
Most importantly, building eco-friendly efforts into the brand story expresses a genuine commitment to the environment.