The problem with recycling in the cannabis industry


When it comes to cannabis packaging, your green may not be as ‘green’ as you originally thought.

Due to heavy government regulations, there are many rules that go into how your cannabis is packaged to comply with advertising restrictions, access to minors and other industry restrictions.

One of the unintended consequences of this is that the cannabis industry is producing a lot of packaging. An estimated 10,000 tons of waste in the first year of legalization in Canada.

And the dirty little secret is almost none of it is being recycled.

But why?

Cannabis needs large amounts of packaging

Regulations mean that there are specific standards companies have to meet when it comes to creating packaging for their product. These will vary from state to state but can cover everything from the the way the package is opened (it must be child resistant), the design of the packaging, the material it is made from, the scent or sounds the packaging makes, the typeface used and much more.

This almost always results in more packaging than would otherwise be necessary and often using various types of materials.

Cannabis can’t be recycled by normal channel

Cannabis packaging needs to be treated separately before it can be sent to a more generalized recycling plant. The lack of immediate access to such a service means that the vast majority of cannabis packaging goes unrecycled.

So, the problem isn’t that cannabis packaging can’t be recycled, it is that it isn’t. The barrier of needing to find a specialized service to manage the disposal of the packaging in a sustainable way means that most users chuck their recycling in with general waste and it ends up in landfill.

Parsl’s solution to put the green back into the cannabis industry

Parsl’s recycling module is a key part of our future roll-out scheme.

We will leverage the connected network of everyone using Parsl to incentivize the depositing and collection of cannabis packaging for both customers and cannabis businesses

Dispensaries or other cannabis businesses nominate as collection points

Collection points in the Parsl system will be automated collection points and dispensaries. Dispensaries can nominate to be part of the recycling collection program and will benefit from the foot-traffic that depositing the packaging will drive, either from returning customers or customers from other facilities.

Customers accrue reward points for dropping off their packaging

Customers can be incentivised to drop of cannabis packaging in many ways, whether through a regulatory funded refund scheme, a reward system facilitated through participating dispensaries, or a combination of both.

However it works, Parsl will be able to track and verify the collection of each piece of packaging through our SmartTags and credit each piece to a verified profile.

Everything can be processed seperately before being recycled at a general facility

Through this system Parsl is able to deliver a solution to the key stumbling when it comes to recycling cannabis packaging – an incentivized process to separate it from general recycling collection.

This streamlines the process, makes it more viable for waste management businesses and regulators, and is a huge step for keeping cannabis packaging out of landfill.

Want to become part of the journey?Start using Parsl for free.

Parsl’s basic plan is free for any business type forever!

We will even send you 1,000 free SmartTags to get you started, so you can experience the full power of Parsl in your business right from the start. 


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