Article by Spencer Harwood, The Canadian Press
Licensed marijuana producers in Canada are throwing out thousands of kilograms of plant waste each year in what some of them say is a missed opportunity to find other uses for the byproduct.
Health Canada’s destruction policy for producers makes it impossible to benefit or learn from the potentially valuable waste product, said Terry Lake, the vice-president of corporate social responsibility at Hydropothecary, a licensed producer in Gatineau, Que.
“We’re growing like 3,000 kilograms to a 108,000 thousand kilograms each year, that’s an awful lot of waste,” said Lake, who is a former health minister in British Columbia.
Lake said almost half of everything Hydropothecary grows is tossed into the compost bin.
Like its cousin the hemp plant, Lake said the stems of the marijuana plant could be used as fibre for a wealth of products like T-shirts, animal feed and housing siding.
“The stalk could be used as a reinforcer for cement, another use of hemp fibre, or could be used as insulation,” said Lake.
Shawn McDougall, production manager at BlissCo, a licensed producer in Langley, B.C., said the company mixes leftover stalks, stems and leaves into its food waste compost, and must report the amount dumped to Health Canada.