Plastics in the Cannabis Industry, A Crisis: A Response to the Washington Post


For a region that prides itself on progressivism and environmental sustainability, something is horribly wrong.

On August 14th, The Seattle Times published a piece that originally ran in The Washington Post, "Garbage from Washington state’s booming pot industry clogs gutters, sewers and landfills." The article, penned by Kristen Millares Young, details the immense amount of plastics, stemming from the cannabis industry, that are being littered and thrown away. 

The article cites many reasons for this trend, but in summation:

1. Competition creates an incentive to not worry about sustainability.

"In Washington state, there are more than twice as many producers and processors as retailers, leading to intense competition for shelf space in shops that display marijuana products in glass cases like jewelry." 

Every grower wants their cannabis to stand out. So they create elaborate (and admittedly, sometimes beautiful) packaging. Not only this, they also need to pinch pennies because costs must go down to remain competitive in the market place. Grow operations are forced into cheaper and cheaper options just to remain viable. This is why plastic is the go to material for packaging, because it costs much less than other (environmentally friendly) alternatives. 

2. I-502 is behind a lot of the problems.

Because the law in Washington state did not mandate sustainable practices, the industry is now facing the consequences. "Doob tubes," the single use plastic container used to store pre-rolled joints, are too small to be recycled. The cannabis entrepreneurs that have taken over the space since the law was passed are not necessarily as environmentally "green" as the cannabis community as a whole. This disconnect made it so those who were rushing to pass the law, overlooked a vital aspect of I-502, sustainability and environmental responsibility. 

3. A New solution is imperative

Some suggest that sustainable, recyclable packaging should be a regulatory requirement for the industry. Others suggest that consumers bear the responsibility of supporting those who take the steps to be a "green" business.

Regardless, we know that the route that we are taking as an industry is not sustainable. Changes need to be made. And fast.

At Canniloq, we manufacture stash containers that are made out of stainless steel and airplane-grade aluminum. They will last a life time. We are trying to help get one-use plastics out of the cannabis industry by providing smokers a stash container that they will never have to replace.

You can support our movement by purchasing a Canniloq container and posting a picture of yourself with it using the #unloqthetruth tag on social media.

Henry Burgess-Marshall