Sustainability is on the minds of consumers across all industries.
As shoppers become more environmentally conscious with their purchases, they look to companies to change their practices, not just to make better products but a better world.
The burgeoning cannabis industry is set to increase production drastically, and cannabis consumers are beginning to realize the impact that their cannabis consumption can have on the environment. In fact, the terpenes found in cannabis are classified as Volatile Organic Compounds that can contribute to air pollution through the cultivation and manufacturing process. So how do we keep our grass “green” as an industry?
Luckily, the cannabis sector is making a lot of significant breakthroughs when it comes to sustainability.
Read on to find out what they are, and don’t hesitate to ask your friendly neighbourhood dispensary (hint hint) what they’re doing to promote sustainability amongst cannabis consumers.
Cannabis production, like other forms of agriculture, consumes large amounts of energy and water to get those beautiful buds we know and love to market. One of the biggest problems facing sustainable cannabis production is the amount of water required to sustain the plant as it grows. Some estimates state that each plant requires up to 22 litres of water per day, which is a lot. You could say cannabis is a thirsty plant!
Reducing water consumption becomes more difficult when growing in dryer climates such as California. Not only does this plant like to drink a lot, but for 1kg of flower to be produced, the amount of energy consumed can power a car across Canada 7 times. Obviously, this can be a bit of a tricky situation for farm
Fresh water sources can quickly become at risk, and too much power can be used if producers aren’t careful.
But it’s not all bad news. Many producers are pioneering sustainable growing methods, through the use of renewable energy, biodegradable growing mediums, and recapture systems that collect rain and condensation. LP’s are also reducing their carbon footprint through the use of living soil and compostable mediums such as coco.
Cannabis-centric organizations like The Cannabis Conservancy are stepping up by advocating for sustainability standards across the industry, from growers to packaging to distribution.
Producers growing indoors are looking for ways to decrease the size of their carbon footprint with technologies like solar panels, LED lights, and the use of natural sunlight. Environmentally responsible practices and advances in green technology can help consumers rest easy and consume their cannabis while feeling good about their carbon footprint.
Many producers are also committed to sustainability in the broader community. What is good for the producer is generally good for everyone else. Natural cultivation is of particular interest because it means the weed you find in stores will be organic and come from a sustainable source. Operation Pollinator is a seed mix that attracts bees and other pollinating insects to the farm and helps promote quality bud with no pesticides. This is good for the producer, consumer, and the bees, who get a chance to do what they do best.
One more piece of the sustainability puzzle is the packaging. Too many products are packaged with single-use plastics that just end up in a landfill. Luckily, it’s hemp to the rescue! As if we couldn’t love the plant more, hemp is a sustainable resource that can be used to make plastic for packaging. It’s a renewable resource that is biodegradable, non-toxic, and recyclable. It can take 500-1000 years for petroleum-based plastics to degrade, but hemp can break down in only 3-6 months! Be on the lookout for hemp packaging as more and more producers and retailers become aware of the fantastic variety of ways that hemp can be used. This is one resource that gets our stoner stamp of approval.
Retailers also have a hand in promoting sustainability within the cannabis industry. Many retailers are introducing sustainable cannabis products and they’re coming up with eco-friendly ways to sell products, such as sustainable exit bags and partnering with Terracycle to recycle cannabis packaging.
Instead of using plastic, many retailers are sending customers off with paper or cloth bags. Consumers can also bring packaging back to many retailers to have it recycled. The Terracycle program recycles inner and outer packaging, tins, joint tubes, plastic bottles and caps, flexible plastic bags, and certain brands of batteries and cartridges.
Check out the Terracycle website to see which stores near you are partnered with the program, and what brands of cartridges and batteries are being accepted.
It is important for retailers to source products from sustainable producers. Together, farms and stores can promote a more sustainable industry that helps grow and sell eco-friendly products that we can all feel good about.
The cannabis industry is still relatively new and growing, but luckily, there are some amazing companies out there pioneering green methods of farming, packaging, and selling. Drop by Due North and ask us about our sustainably sourced products and our recycling program!
So, what do you think? Is sustainability in cannabis an important issue to you?
Sound off in the comments below and remember, let Due North Cannabis be your guide!
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