The lack of sustainable packaging in the cannabis industry is becoming more of a concern as access to legal cannabis expands across the country. Marijuana-packaging regulations force cannabis manufacturers to be not only purveyors of weed but purveyors of plastic and other non-biodegradable materials.
In an effort to attract customer attention, many cannabis brands have gone beyond child-resistant packaging requirements and embraced the “unboxing” experience, creating complex packages that generate even more waste. Plus, there are all of those pre-rolls in plastic tubes, 1/8ths in plastic pop-top containers, vapes in multi-layer, mixed-material boxes, and, yes, individual sucker packaging — most of which ends up in the trash.
All of that cannabis packaging adds up. Roughly 36 million tons of packaging waste goes to landfills every year. To put that in perspective, that’s the equivalent of throwing out your bodyweight in packaging every 30-40 days.
The UN World Commission on Environment and Development defines sustainability as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Basically, if humans want to have water, materials, and natural resources into the future, we need to address how we produce and consume what we have now.
The idea of sustainable packaging is to reduce the waste. This can involve increasing the life cycle of the packaging, creating more functional packaging, using materials that are more recyclable, and investing in future technologies that are eco-friendlier.
Since 1950, the production of plastic has skyrocketed, creating 8.3 billion metric tons of waste, most of which ends up in landfills or the ocean. That plastic pre-roll tube you picked up at the dispensary? It’ll take more than 450 years to degrade. Plastic that makes it into the ocean never fully biodegrades, breaking down into microplastics that fish and other marine life mistake for food. A recent study found that by 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in the oceans.
Mountain High Suckers doesn’t want to be part of the packaging problem. We value feedback from our customers, and you’ve told us that sustainable packaging is important to you. Trust us, we’ve seen it too. Trash cans overflowing with single-use paper and plastic wrappers and containers aren’t an uncommon sight at cannabis events and social consumption lounges.
While reduce, reuse, recycle is important, we know it’s about more than what happens to a container after it’s used–it’s about using more environmentally sustainable packaging in the first place. That’s why Mountain High Suckers has partnered with Calyx Containers.
Our starting point will be with new packaging our lozenges and sweet pieces products. Look for them with a new style on shelves soon! We’re also currently looking into options to improve the recyclability of our single serving sucker packaging too.
Moving toward sustainability is definitely a huge task and it requires everyone moving toward a more balanced environment. We aim to encourage our partners and competitors to make the choice to switch to more recyclable materials. Live free, be well!