Global Recycling Day is upon us, and instead of seeing our waste stream as just that, waste, we should see it as an opportunity. Otherwise, the situation can feel overwhelming.
Every year billions of tons of raw natural resources get transformed into a vast array of products. In fact, we produce over 300 tons of plastic annually, and over 50% of that is designed to be single use - put into service once, and then tossed away. And of course, everything that gets tossed away ends up in landfills or the oceans.
We must do better, and we can, with a retooling of perspectives as we look to address sustainability and how we use our natural resources. Today is that day - a day for action and reflection, creating an actionable approach moving forward.
Today’s global recycling day is a way to put recycling and our resource use at the forefront of our minds. It’s a day we should be fully cognizant of our choices and impacts with regards to resource use. And in the cannabis industry, as the industry continually expands, now is the time to address our own sustainability especially as it relates to packaging and resource use.
The cannabis industry is a multi-billion dollar juggernaut, and one that will be experiencing significant global and national expansion over the coming years. With that growth, we need to ensure that we address how we look as an industry with regards to packaging. We cannot continue to use single use plastic options when sustainable options are available.
Those of us not bound by state regulation should use the most eco friendly options available without question.
The cannabis industry should set a positive tone, and we should be leaders in requiring solutions that are sustainable with the least environmental impact as possible. There are options for recyclable and biodegradable packaging, and these we should be encouraging and pushing for them. Our resources are finite, so let’s use them wisely and leave a positive lasting impression for those who will follow us.
When working on these issues, it’s important to note that many states have mandated specific parameters for packaging and those options don’t always align with sustainability. Some western states require child proof containers or double-packaging options to deter kids. These requirements are great for kid safety but don’t offer an option that addresses environmental responsibility.
The size of this industry means our reach and impact can and will be huge. Let’s use that for positive change and let’s represent ourselves as solutions rather than creating issues that require fixing.
There are options for compostable and biodegradable packaging, including SunGrown Packaging, Sana Packaging, and Eco-Enclose, and as the industry grows, I’m sure more options will become available. In fact, Herb CEO even came up with a checklist to help assess packaging materials:
- Are the materials naturally sourced?
- Do the materials biodegrade?
- Are the materials recyclable and if so, how much energy is required to recycle them?
- Are the materials multi-use or single-use in design?
- Do the materials contain any added chemicals that could pose health risks?
- Does the company get involved in the sustainability movement?
- Does the company make an effort to educate consumers on the value of eco-friendly packaging and living?
But regardless of that, we have to examine our impact and work towards facilitating a market that encourages - if not mandates - sustainable packaging options. Those of us not bound by state regulation should use the most eco friendly options available without question.
Courtesy of n2pack.com
We don't need to continue down paths that aren't in alignment with the environmental and the climate issues we’re facing. The size of this industry means our reach and impact can and will be huge. Let’s use that for positive change and let’s represent ourselves as solutions rather than creating issues that require fixing.
As a blossoming industry, it’s important to not lose sight of the positive impact we can showcase by example, and this means being stewards of our global resources collectively. Together we can make a big difference. And today should be that starting point.
Thumbnail photo courtesy of sungrownpackaging.com