In recent years, cannabis companies have struggled to find ways to source sustainable packaging, due to a lack of availability, and it’s no secret that the marijuana industry has been a significant source of plastic waste due to single-use packaging materials. On average, the cannabis industry is responsible for more than a billion units of plastic every year. Sheesh! But as of late, companies have taken steps towards greener alternatives such as biodegradable packaging, recyclable packaging and more technologies are also in the works.
These numbers make unnecessary sound like an understatement. In fact, distributors and dispensaries often sell products in packaging that is four to thirty times larger than the contents inside. Take these variances, for example:
- One gram of wax comes in 30 grams of packaging
- One quarter of flower comes in a 29-gram bottle
- One gram of flower comes in a 4-gram Mylar bag.
- (The above numbers are averages)
The shockingly large amount of plastic waste being bought and sold is inconsistent with an industry that prides itself on being plant-based and earth friendly. The problem has largely been attributed to federally based laws requiring child-resistant closures, on top of the already excessive packaging stipulated by states for individual or bulk cannabis products. As consumers have noticed the detrimental effects that immoderate plastic packaging is having on global pollution and greenhouse emissions, they are demanding greener alternatives.
In response, companies like Marijuana Packaging have put their best foot forward in creating a solution for the problem at hand. The Los Angeles based company, known as industry leaders for their expertise in cannabis packaging, have finally released their line of biodegradable joint tubes that are expected to “change the game” for the industry. After we dug deeper, research showed that 90 percent of consumers, worldwide, are more likely to support businesses that demonstrate support for environmental issues. Talk about a win-win!
So here is how they did it.
The biodegradable pre roll tubes are made with bioplastic materials, consisting of biopolymer and bio blend resins. The resins are natural, renewably sourced, and made from plant-based materials, effectively reducing harmful chemicals produced by fossil fuels. The bio blend is melted down and fused with #5 polypropylene to create a compound formula that will anaerobically degrade; this consumes less energy and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. The science that helped to create bioplastic is relatively new, which means that any company who attempts to manufacture biodegradable packaging materials must undergo rigorous test methods in order to meet the qualifications for biodegradable certification.
As such, biodegradable joint tubes, along with other biodegradable products, go through ASTM D5511 test methods, in order to validate whether the biodegradable materials are able to achieve at least a 90% degradation within 241 days of disposal. The ASTM tests are administered under laboratory conditions in order to test how the additives and bio blends will react in contact with soil. Furthermore, bioplastic pre roll tubes are also required to pass child resistant ASTM testing, certifying their closures are reliably child proof and durable throughout the product’s life span.
Currently, Arizona’s only strict requirement for cannabis packaging is that the container must be child resistant. There are several additional requirements, as far as labeling is concerned, however, the state’s main priority when it comes to the package itself is to ensure the contents stay safely out of the hands of minors. Although, the state has not specified whether the child-resistant packaging must be applied to individual products or rather, to exit packaging for collective purchases. That said, there is a greater leniency when it comes to integrating sustainable products, such as biodegradable joint tubes, into Arizona’s medical dispensaries.
As cannabis companies begin to realize the importance of reducing plastic waste, as well as their ecological footprint, production of sustainable packaging will continue to increase, expanding availability and reducing costs. Working towards implementing biodegradable product lines will help reduce the amount of plastic waste that ends up in landfills each year and reverse life-threatening consequences such as pollution and climate change. Making a difference is an uphill battle, but every biodegradable joint tube sold in place of a plastic joint tube is a step towards restabilizing the industries environmental impact.
So that is the gist of it. You can find plenty more information about this on the Marijuana Packaging website.
As updates continue to circulate, we will continue to bring you the latest on sustainability in the cannabis industry.