Article by Piper Courtenay, Georgia Straight
Ontario licensed producer (LP) Tweed Marijuana Inc. has launched a recycling program aimed at collecting and reprocessing federally mandated plastic weed containers.
The program comes from a partnership with TerraCycle—an eco-friendly company running privately funded campaigns around the world.
TerraCycle works with companies to “upcycle” and repurpose common waste products, turning discarded drink containers into reusable tote bags, circuit boards into coasters, and fax machines into flower pots. It also collects and melts general waste, reforming it into pellets to be used in the making of benches, picnic tables, and playgrounds. Now, TerraCycle is working with Health Canada’s LPs to combat a rising plastics problem spawning from new federal laws.
After new legislation came into effect in late 2018, critics have taken aim at Health Canada’s packaging guidelines, which require federally approved companies to store products, like dried flower and pre-rolls, in individual plastic, child-proof containers. Labels must also be plain and carry both a health warning and standardized cannabis symbol—making it increasingly difficult for brands to educate consumers on the contents.
Before the new laws came into effect, most grey market dispensaries would opt to store and display bulk amounts of dried cannabis in large glass jars—dispensing grams into small plastic baggies on a customer-by-customer basis.
Both retailers and consumers have called the federal government’s packaging guidelines bulky. Considering the spike in consumer demand ushered in by the legalization of adult-use cannabis last year, many believe the amount of containers set to be tossed out after use pose a risk to the environment.
Some environmentally-conscious companies, like American hemp packaging manufacturer Sana Packaging, estimate that more than one billion units of single-use plastic packaging will be discarded in North America per year by 2020.