The competitive cannabis industry is fast-growing, with every company aiming for its place in the spotlight. Growers are on a mission to offer the most potent strains or cross-breeds, and new products are being introduced left and right. While this can mean that consumers get more choices, it can also lead to a deepening waste issue, among other things. This alone makes eco-friendly and sustainable efforts more important than ever.
In this post, Smokey’s will explain the importance of sustainability in the cannabis industry. Before reading, be sure to browse our online shop for products that are not only good for your buzz but also good for the environment.
Why Are Sustainable Cannabis Business Practices Important?
The mass production of cannabis may have led to some practices that are harmful to the environment and socio-economic climates. As an example, some commercial growers are using artificial pesticides and harmful chemicals to increase yields, hence contributing heavily to pollution and waste.
To give a more specific example of this harmful practice, Washington’s cannabis industry has led to plant waste amounting to 1.7 million pounds, since being a legalized cannabis state in 2014.
As a helpful source of information and statistics, the National Cannabis Industry Association released a 58-page technical report on how to pursue environmental sustainability in the cannabis industry. The report discussed the best practices on how to sustainably maintain and use renewable soil, water, air quality, and more importantly, waste management.
Luckily, there are a lot of small- to medium-sized businesses in Canada that are spearheading sustainable cannabis growing and distribution practices. Let’s look at some examples below.
Sustainable Cannabis Business Practices That Have Huge Impact
The quick rise of the cannabis market has urged many dispensaries and cultivators to follow eco-friendly practices. From renewable energy to using eco-packaging, here are some ways to show care for the environment when growing or distributing cannabis.
1. Utilizing Renewable Energy for Indoor Growth
Those who grow cannabis in outdoor settings already make the most out of natural sunlight and temperatures. However, those who choose to cultivate indoors need lots of electricity to power up a grow room. According to industry experts, growers consume around 360 kWh a month per 25 square feet.
To help you visualize, a grow room with 20 to 25 plants consumes electricity equal to 29 refrigerators. With all of these estimates, it takes around 5,000 kWh to grow 1 kilogram of cannabis. Adding to that, a separate study stated that indoor cannabis growing needs electricity to support two million average-sized homes.
This is the reason why many are turning to off-grid technologies to save on energy costs. Not only does it lessen the carbon footprint that farms produce, but sustainable cannabis grown via solar, hydro, and wind power also protects the plants in case of unexpected power outages.
Aside from utilizing renewable energy, one way to lessen the carbon footprint of the legal cannabis industry is to transfer production from indoor to greenhouses, or outdoors. If this is not feasible for indoor growers, there are still several steps that support the sustainable cannabis movement such as:
- Using LED grow lights for less energy consumption and for lower temperatures
- Utilizing chilled water systems for cooking and dehumidification to replace traditional HVAC (heat, ventilation, and air conditioning) systems
2. Using Eco-Friendly or Biodegradable Packaging
The legalization of recreational cannabis in 2018 set the stage for newer, more modern cannabis products. While this creates healthy competition and a wider range of choices for different kinds of consumers, this can also lead to more packaging waste.
Regulating waste is an important sustainable cannabis industry practice that businesses need to pay huge attention to. It should begin in the early stages of cultivation and should still be practiced until the final products are sent to dispensaries for people to purchase. Using eco-friendly packaging for edibles, or reusable containers for dried flowers is a good solution.
Some types of sustainable cannabis packaging and display material are:
- Paper-based zip pouches
- One-hundred percent recycled PCW carton boxes that are manufactured using purely wind energy.
- Organic set-up boxes
- Compostable flex-pouches or stand-up pouches
- Reusable pop-top or twist top containers
3. Preventing the Use of Harmful Pesticides
Soil health is a vital part of a successful grow, and it is understandable that producers will do everything they can to protect their crops from pests, mould, and other harmful elements. Unfortunately, some turn to artificial pesticides that are bad for the environment. There are organic pest control options that can be used by growers in lieu of pesticides, such as aromatic oils. Cinnamon oil, clove oil, and peppermint oil are effective in pushing pests away. If used in manageable doses, these are safe for cannabis plants. There are also organic herbicides, and believe it or not, beneficial insects, that can be used during the early stages of cultivation.
Participate in the Sustainable Cannabis Movement with Smokey’s
Smokey’s supports sustainable cannabis businesses by distributing eco-friendly products in our stores. Visit any of our store locations and ask our budtenders about the sustainable cannabis brands we carry.
Can’t make it to our locations? Don’t hesitate to contact us and ask about our delivery services in your area.