Despite relying on the environment to thrive and grow, the cannabis industry has not been particularly environmentally friendly as it has industrialised. Unsustainable growing practises, single-use plastic packaging, and emissions from shipping products are just a few of the ways the cannabis industry continues to pollute the environment and contribute to climate change.Fortunately, some brands and organisations are working to fuel the cannabis sustainability movement, which is an effort by environmentalists, cannabis growers, and the broader community to truly green the cannabis industry.
The Movement for Sustainability
Two factors have contributed to the current cannabis sustainability movement. The sustainability movement is driven by cannabis growers who want to support the planet that supports their business and consumers who want to reduce their carbon footprint.
For years, cannabis buyers all over the world have been clamouring for better environmental practises from their favourite brands and growers. Cannabis buyers are becoming more interested in environmental action and sustainable initiatives as climate change has gained awareness and visibility in the media. Some companies have taken steps to reduce packaging waste, which is a major consumer concern. However, the majority of these efforts have resulted in price increases, leaving consumers dissatisfied.
Cannabis growers who previously used similar practises as factory farmers have begun to shift in greater numbers to regenerative farming. Finally, they benefit the environment and lower the cost of growing by eliminating the need for harsh pesticides and chemical fertilisers. Now, an increasing number of cannabis companies are collaborating to improve production methods, support sustainable initiatives, and teach future growers how to cultivate cannabis mindfully.
Methods for Cannabis Sustainability
While small changes do make a difference, it will take more than a few growers to make a significant difference in greening the industry. Increased demand for sustainable products is likely to encourage those growers who are still hesitant as consumers become more aware of how their weed is grown and processed. Some of the most important ways cannabis producers are combating climate change are as follows:
Farming that is regenerative
Regenerative farming is a type of farming that produces healthy crops for the present while also preparing and protecting the environment for future generations. Plants are naturally regenerative, growing from the soil each season, dying back, and returning the nutrients that were used to grow the soil. Microfauna, mould, and fungi aid in the breakdown of plant waste, resulting in healthy, nutrient-rich soil in which to grow crops the following season.
Modern farming techniques, rather than working with the planet’s natural ability to regenerate life, rely on harsh chemical pesticides and fertilisers to artificially restore nutrient balance and ward off disease. Unfortunately, these chemical products only serve to deplete the planet’s natural ability to support life, eventually rendering the soil unusable for future generations. Because of the potential negative environmental effects of indoor weed, many consumers are turning to outdoor or sungrown weed.
Cannabis growers interested in regenerative farming can learn more, find supportive communities of sustainable growers, and become Sun+Earth certified. Cannabis companies that have earned the Sun+Earth certification grow their cannabis under the sun without the use of harsh chemicals and work hard to pay their employees a living wage.
Packaging and shipping materials that have been recycled
Legal cannabis products must be packaged in accordance with strict safety and cleanliness standards. As a result, many cannabis products must be packaged in multiple layers of plastic, paper, and glass, adding to landfill waste.
Despite the fact that cannabis businesses must adhere to strict packaging guidelines, it is still possible for them to go plastic-free. Companies should instead use recycled, recyclable, and biodegradable materials – such as cardboard made from mushrooms – to improve their sustainability practises!
Some businesses are switching to metal packaging instead of plastic or heavy glass, with the goal of making the stainless steel packaging 100 percent recyclable. Furthermore, products packaged in glass or plastic jars do not last as long, and expired product is frequently wasted and discarded if it is not sold in a timely manner.
Supply chain management is a little-known factor in determining a company’s sustainability. Factors such as shipment weight, fuel prices, and material costs quickly add up. According to N2, a packaging company, “a pound of product put in our cans weighs about 9 pounds total.” A pound of product placed in a competitor’s glass jar weighs approximately 32 pounds total. As a result, for shipping purposes, this saves a significant amount of weight, space, and fuel.”
Cannabis brands that do not grow their own cannabis can become more sustainable by sourcing their ingredients from growers who practise regenerative farming. Growers making a difference can expand their business, educate other growers, and continue to innovate for the environment with more customers (like your brand).
Shop at your local store.
It is critical to redouble efforts to support community resilience during times of uncertainty. When the community thrives, everyone thrives, and the cannabis industry is no exception. As a consumer, one of the best ways to support the sustainable cannabis movement is to support local businesses. Furthermore, purchasing products from local businesses ensures that your investment goes directly back into making your home a better, greener, cleaner place.
Companies Dedicated to Sustainability in the Cannabis Industry
With so many cannabis brands to choose from, it’s best to buy from cannabis companies that are more than just cannabis flower and a brand label. Why pay a premium for cannabis just for the product’s branding? There is so much more to running a successful business than following a roadmap to uphold a company’s mission and ethos.
Buying weed and cannabis products from holistic, sustainability-focused brands is an easy way for consumers to invest in the sustainability movement. Among the exciting cannabis brands whose products are produced in a sustainable manner are:
Flow Kana’s flower is grown by multi-generational farmers in California who rely on the power of the sun and Mother Earth to produce high-quality cannabis.
Mana Botanics is a Hawaii-based company that produces premium CBD products made from sun-grown whole-hemp extract.
N2 Packaging is a cannabis packaging supply company based in Idaho that uses metal packaging for recyclable and sustainable options, as well as nitrogen-sealed cans to keep products fresh.
Source Cannabis employs a novel indoor growing method that requires little energy and relies on carefully calculated conditions to create the ideal environment for weed growth.
Ocean Cannabis Co. packages its products with recycled and reclaimed ocean plastic, and each purchase helps recover about one water bottle’s worth of plastic.
Climate change can appear to be an insurmountable barrier at times, a looming figure of doom reminding us all that our resources and comfort are finite. While it is critical to take climate change seriously, it would be incorrect to believe that it is too late to make positive changes. The cannabis industry is a great example of how communities can band together to push for change by supporting, educating, and uplifting one another one small step at a time.