If it wasn’t clear before, it’s clear now, we’re close to having a plastic world of waste – and bureaucrats left to themselves will not be the nature saving super heroes we desperately need.

Take Health Canada’s legal marijuana packaging for example.

For 1 gram of legal marijuana, you can expect to unravel your way through up to 38 grams of plastic and paper packaging. That’s 38 times the weight of the actual product, using materials that are causing irreparable earthly damage.

Figure 1. A Reddit user posts the waste associated with only 3 grams of legal pot.

A little excessive? Astronomically is more like it.

But hold on, since the packaging is recyclable, many of you might be thinking, what’s the fuss?

In this article, we’ll explain why legal marijuana’s packaging, even though recyclable, increases plastic pollution in a highly significant way. And in the end, we’ll also provide you with sustainable alternatives so our chances of living in a plastic world are reduced.

So, without further ado, lets begin.


Why Marijuana Packaging That’s Recyclable Hardly Matters

According to a United Nations report, roughly 8.3 billion tonnes of plastics were produced since it’s mass introduction in the 1950’s, and only 31 percent has been recycled and re-used. Ever.

Given plastic’s extreme durability, this means, there’s over 5.7 billion tonnes of plastics being accumulated in landfills, ecosystems, in the stomachs of seabirds and marine creatures, in our tap water, our bottle water and even our beer – at this exact moment.

Which is enough to bury Manhattan under 5kms of plastic garbage.

Figure 2. Bird’s eye view of Manhattan.

As for Canada, we have no nationally mandated strategy, nor are plastics banned in any way, therefore, provinces are left having to govern their own waste.

As a result, Canadians only recycle less than 11 percent of used plastics (only 2 percent better than the international average), while leaving the rest unadvised in landfills, oceans and lakes, decimating countless life forms.

These numbers are shocking, aren’t they? Unfortunately, the surface of the environmental ugliness is barely scratched.

Because if things continue at the current rate, by 2050 the world’s oceans will have more plastic than fish.

But with all this said, how does everything relate to purchasing legal marijuana?


How Legal Marijuana Packaging Creates a Plastic World

Figure 3. Plastic containers associated with little amounts of legal marijuana.

Remember the 38 grams of marijuana packaging that comes with a single gram of government approved weed?

If we apply some math, the environmental impact becomes a lot clearer, and unfortunately, so much more detrimental.

For instance, on day 1 of legalization in just the three provinces of BC, Alberta and Quebec alone, roughly 70,000 legal cannabis sales took place.

Assuming each sale was packaged in 38 grams of plastic, which is a conservative estimate given 1 gram is a small order, we have a total of 5900 pounds of plastic produced. In one day. In only three provinces!

Putting things into perspective – that’s 486,000 plastic bags.

And, in a year that’s 2.15 million pounds of plastic pollution, equivalent to 177.2 million plastic bags.

Is this a reasonable cost for implementing Health Canada’s marijuana packaging guidelines?

Put another way, is alcohol and other pharmaceuticals subjected to the same excessive packaging?

The answer is in plain sight.

Fortunately for cannabis consumers, purchasing from government approved sources is not the only channel available.


How to Reduce Your Environmental Footprint as a Cannabis Consumer

Figure 4. A sustainable hemp farm.

There are myriads of ways of how you can avoid the almost environmentally blind approach of buying government approved weed, with the first being to purchase from retailers who don’t excessively package their products.

These retailers are unregulated dispensaries.

Unregulated Dispensaries Contribute Less to a Plastic World of Waste

Herb Approach is one of them.

We carry 400 plus products that come delivered in packaging that doesn’t promote plastic pollution, unlike the over-sized containers associated with legal marijuana.

Our packaging is also discreet, tamper-proof and smell-proof. Therefore, your identity is protected, and your cannabis is best preserved for future use.

Here’s a quick video review of our products.

However, we’re just one of the many unregulated dispensaries out there, so browse, and find one that works best for you.

Purchase Sustainable Cannabis Products

Along with purchasing from unregulated dispensaries, being conscious of the type of cannabis products you buy is another way of putting mother nature first.

For instance, purchasing cannabis that’s grown with the use of LED lighting or closed circuit and reverse osmosis water systems is one way. The same also applies to using these technologies when growing your own.

Another way is purchasing concentrates that are made without solvents, such as butane, propane, isopropyl alcohol and so on. Instead, opt-in for rosin pressed or Co2 produced cannabis concentrates, as they have no trace of using harmful solvents.

Such solvent-free concentrates also carry the same flexibility and diversity if you’re making it yourself, coming as either hash oil, shatter, and more.

Also, ensuring that sustainable practices are involved in no way compromises on the concentrates quality. Rather, you can expect it to provide an identical, if not greater cannabis experience, full with terpenes, CBD and THC.

Here’s one of Herb Approach’s sustainable made concentrates.

Lastly, wherever and whatever you buy, recycle the packaging

The most important action to take in being sustainable while using cannabis, is to make the extra effort to recycle – whether it’s storage or smoking accessories, like disposable vaporizers, zip lock bags, plastic containers or the excessive packaging from government approved sources.

Also, you can find more info about plastic pollution in Canada, and how you can get involved here.

Thanks for reading, and as always,