INDUSTRY

Op-Ed: We Need Eco-Friendly Cannabis Packaging - Here’s Why

Every industry needs a sustainable vision -- including cannabis.
Every industry needs a sustainable vision -- including cannabis. / Image courtesy of Sana Packaging

Article by James Eichner

E-commerce is swelling in popularity, and sustainable products are surging alongside it. Right now, consumers are on the hunt for brands that are incorporating truly eco-friendly practices from natural products to green packaging. As operators in the cannabis space, we believe we should all be doing our part to ensure customers are able to make each of their purchases more sustainable. 

As the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) solidified its regulations on hemp last year, customers were busy making it known that they’re willing to pay a little extra for environmentally friendly products. According to a recent study, over 80% of participants agreed it is "important or extremely important" for companies to develop environmentally-conscious products. 

Customers are increasing demands for greener practices as more reports are published about the rampant effects of climate change. Consumers can influence this trend directly in their shopping habits by opting for brands that use environmentally friendly practices. With e-commerce on the rise, mitigating waste can happen at the brand level by selecting products that use eco-friendly packaging. Let’s learn just how eco-friendly packaging can make an impact. 

Why Eco-Friendly Packaging?

Packaging waste is on the rise. In 2018, 28.1% of total waste generation in the U.S. was the result of packaging waste. More packaging waste is being diverted to recycling facilities than in the past, but there is still a long way to go. With more consumers looking to go green in their shopping habits, providing eco-friendly packaging in the cannabis industry is a great way to support cannabis customers looking to make an impact.

Eco-Friendly Packaging is Good for Communities

The hemp industry centers around community and innovation, and eco-friendly cannabis packaging brings that focus to the forefront. 

Not only does green packaging benefit the environment, but it demonstrates the utility of new packaging technologies and practices that also protect the health and wellness of communities. Customers searching for cannabis in the form of cannabis cartridges, live resin, natural cannabis edibles or CBD honey sticks want to see how they can benefit them. 

It only serves to go a step further and help provide them with packaging methods that won’t trash their community. 

Sustainably-Minded Packaging Reduces Carbon Footprint

Decreasing carbon footprint in the cannabis industry is a big deal. Some companies like HiiStick are opting to plant trees. Others, like Dip Devices, are directing donations to reforestation and land conservation efforts. At Sana Packaging we’re incorporating environmentally-friendly packaging practices to help customers reduce their carbon footprint. 

When you invest in sustainable packaging, it means you’re committed to using fewer materials that will end up in a landfill and reducing excess packaging pre-sale. Purchasing cannabis packaging materials that utilize eco-friendly approaches often means fewer carbon emissions were generated to create the material, thereby reducing your carbon footprint — and the carbon footprint of your customers. 

If you’ve been seeking inspiration on how to add sustainable packaging to your cannabis brand, these are some rockstar brands we know that have already made the switch:

Eco-Friendly Packaging Stays True to an Industry All About Plant-Based Health

In the cannabis industry, we’re in the business of helping people on their journey with plant-based health. It is crucial that we do this while taking care of our planet. 

By implementing tactics like eco-friendly packaging, brands promote the longevity of our industry, much like plant-based medicine has the potential to have a long-lasting positive impact on our health. 

Sustainable packaging techniques show customers you’re putting in the work by directly mitigating concerns they may have regarding waste. Eco-friendly packaging also demonstrates you care about customers’ efforts and have a willingness to adapt to a changing world.

Driving Change in the Cannabis Industry

In the cannabis industry, devising sustainable packaging models has also offered us at Sana Packaging the opportunity to create change through unique initiatives. 

Recently, we obtained a grant in Colorado to develop an exciting pilot program. Through the program, we are sourcing local-to-Colorado post-consumer resins (PCR) polypropylene to manufacture cannabis packaging. 

During the process, we will be employing both recycled cannabis packaging and other PCR polypropylene sources. 

Polypropylene is difficult to recycle, meaning much of the plastic entering Colorado typically doesn’t have an exit plan. We’re thrilled to extend the material’s usefulness, and along the way, we’ll be helping to build a secondary market for PCR polypropylene to enhance its recycling rate. 

Each step is small but vital to move toward a more circular cannabis packaging model. 

Spread the Love of Sustainability

Eco-friendly packaging is vital in an industry dedicated to helping people heal. If you’re looking to make a lasting positive impact on the planet, consider what green packaging can do for you — and keep pushing the envelope on sustainable practices. 

Spread the word about sustainability. Post about it on social media. Write a letter to the editor, call your congressperson or connect with a PR agency to get the word out and inspire change. 

If you’re interested in taking the plunge to make your cannabis brand more eco-friendly, reach out to us. We’re happy to provide you with the resources you need to make it happen and the sustainable packaging solutions to take the next step. 

James Eichner is the Co-Founder and CSO of Sana Packaging. He earned his BA at Colorado College and his MBA at CU-Boulder. James has won several pitch competitions on behalf of Sana Packaging has written op-eds exploring the nuances of sustainable cannabis packaging and has spoken at industry events like the Cannabis Sustainability Symposium, NoCo Hemp Expo, and more. Prior to cannabis, James worked in the social and environmental nonprofit sectors.

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