From Back to the Land to Burying the Land

The cannabis industry produces large amounts of waste. From vaporizer cartridges to legally mandated layers of cannabis packaging, the movement that grew with back-to-land environmentalists is now buried in a pile of waste.

According to longtime cannabis activist Chris Conrad, he talked about using minimal packaging made of hemp, but never talked about waste early on. “At the time, the movement was interrelated with the environmental movement and I didn’t think waste would be a problem,” he said. He pointed out the vaping cartridge as a game changer, adding that “disposable is even worse”.

Compliant waste treatment is important

There are two major cannabis waste disposal companies in California. GAIACA Waste Recycling (GAIACA) When Cannabis Waste Solution (CWS).. Andrew McGinty, CEO of CWS, has over 15 years of experience in hazardous waste management and knew that this new industry could leverage his experience. He founded CWS in late 2018 and began attending cannabis events and hearings in Sacramento. GAIACA, co-founded by CEO Jonathan Lee in 2016, does two things: “manage cannabis waste in the most compliant way and ensure the protection of the environment.”

McGinty says it was sent by a Washington operator Almost £ 2m Since the commercial sale of adult cannabis began in 2014, plant waste emissions to landfills have increased. The other major categories of waste are rock wool / growth medium, soil, packaging waste, cannabis-contaminated debris, from highest to lowest, and the smallest categories are used solvents, batteries, etc. Hazardous waste. CWS has a way to recycle rock wool, which is a “big hurdle”. Coconut fiber and soil are compostable, and other waste is rendered and sent to landfills or hazardous waste facilities for special disposal.

“People are unaware that proper waste disposal is the client’s responsibility. If waste is not properly managed, this can be very costly to the operator.” Lee brought up the tale of WellgreensCA, An extraction device that illegally dumps used solvent. Currently, officials are considering heavy fines and federal prison time. “Companies may save money in the short term, but pay attention to the long-term consequences of illegal dumping. The risks are far greater than the rewards,” said Lee. Due to California’s original cannabis regulatory habits, all waste had to become unusable and unrecognizable. the The facility that generated it, not the licensed facility. As a result, both GAIACA and CWS have designed custom rendering tracks that allow you to go to a licensed facility to render waste while the camera is recording the entire process.

Courtesy of GAIACA

The two companies say that changing market trends will increase the extraction of waste, especially hemp oil, which is used for arcing, topical, edible, or tapping. “We are on the verge of mass-produced oil. Companies are now mass-produced,” said McGinty. He pointed out that products like Puff Copies make tapping “more accessible” as a reason for the increased oil usage. GAIACA has significantly increased used solvents such as ethanol and contaminated post-extraction biomass. GAIACA does not incinerate biomass, but destroying used ethanol “generates a large amount of energy”, so it sends used ethanol to energy facilities.

In addition to petroleum waste, both companies are looking at more arc waste, but there are ways to recycle arcs and batteries. “Batteries are regulated by the federal government, so” disposable “is much more difficult to recycle and must be completely disassembled,” McGinty said. “You shouldn’t breathe” disposable “vapors. I think. ” McGinty cannot prove that arc batteries are causing fires in waste facilities, but agreed that those facilities were “increasing fires.” He explained that lithium reacts with water and waste facilities use water to control dust, which can cause a fire if it exceeds the battery in a puddle.

Solutions in working with Vape Waste

The pile of waste has grown to a considerable extent, and thanks to its leadership National Stewardship Action Council (NSAC) And there is a solution in the work for vapes, a cannabis company that works with them.

Heidi Sanborn, Executive Director of NSAC, has been “protecting people and the planet” for the past 32 years by reducing the amount of waste generated and finding innovative recycling methods. NSAC has successfully signed six bills within the first six years. Sanborn is no stranger to the combat industry, and their victories have required years of advocacy and education.

“I look forward to working with people to solve big problems to make the world better. I don’t enjoy the legislative battle,” said Sanborn. Nonetheless, she has fought a reluctant battle with the tobacco industry over her efforts to regulate disposable tobacco waste that failed due to extreme pressure from tobacco lobbyists.Sanborn was the driving force behind her SB 54 (Allen), “The strongest [Extended Producer Responsibility] Governor Newsom signs the law, California’s “National (EPR) Bill” to reduce “packaging of all kinds, not just plastic” waste. After that big win, Sanborn hopes that “the tobacco industry should be very careful” and they need to “come to the negotiating table or be on the menu”.

In contrast to the tobacco industry, Mr. Sanborn said that the majority of cannabis companies are “great” and “they have worked with us. AB 1894 (L. Rivas). Specifically, Sanborn is in talks with some of the largest players in the state, including the California Cannabis Industry Association, STIIIZY, Vessel, and GAIACA. “We are working on a bill jointly to prevent cannabis vapor from being advertised or sold as’disposable’, Sanborn said. This means that cannabis is thrown into the trash. ” In addition, Ark must be sold accurately and advertised as “household hazardous waste”. It must be brought to a state-approved disposal facility. At its core, AB1894 is a consumer education bill that only changes the way cannabis products are promoted and sold, so companies need to keep costs to a minimum.

Why it’s a sustainable business

Courtesy of the ship

James Choe is CEO container, Ark company that places the highest priority on sustainability. Choi didn’t chop up his words, saying “there was some greenwashing” in the steam-breathing industry. Determined to set an example and lead, Vessel is actively seeking more sustainable ways to design and package its products. Choi said it’s “painful” to put high-end products in a simple package, but because it’s easy to recycle and sustainable, it’s “moving to a plain box with a single color of ink.” increase. According to Choi, “Most of our business is direct sales and we already sell online so we don’t have to sell it again with the package.”

One of the reasons for the sheer volume of cannabis packages is the regulation that requires children to be safe. To minimize packaging waste, Choe states that “our arc cart is certified as childproof, so no additional layers of childproof are needed.” Unfortunately, many brands are willing to pay an “extra dime.” Choi emphasized the need to educate consumers as well as businesses. Vessel’s digital team surveyed its customer base and found that “65% may not be interested in the environment.”Vessel is affiliated with GAIACA Get Recycle Now (GRN) Battery return program by pharmacy and mail. “The day of cannabis EPR is just around the corner,” said Choi, and Vessel aims to stay ahead of the curve.

Sanborn has made it clear that sustainability is good for businesses. “The younger generation knows companies that vote for their money and abuse workers and the environment. If you don’t cater to them, they find a brand that caters to them and their worldview. Probably, “she said. Sanborn repeated Choe’s warning about greenwashing. “If you get caught while doing greenwashing, they won’t buy from you again.” Conrad agreed with Sanborn, “Solving the waste problem is what people buy. It will benefit the legal market because it feels better about the product. “

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