A top Canadian consultancy company is pioneering an environmentally friendly cannabis packaging service that will help reduce waste by reusing wholesale packaging. Doing this is much more sustainable than recycling or dumping them and could potentially cost much less.
Apical Ethical Cannabis Collective is the company behind the new packaging service, aptly named the reusable or circular master pack prototype. The initiative aims to harmonize cannabis producers with dispensary packaging suppliers to enable the reusing of wholesale cannabis containers.
Apical CEO Mika Unterman commented on the program, saying that it is only the beginning as the company also aspires to create reusable consumer cannabis packaging. She continued to explain that starting with a business-to-business packaging service program is a lower-risk way to test their collection and reuse infrastructure. Similarly, consumer cannabis packaging is subject to numerous regulatory requirements, making it difficult to implement such programs at the moment.
Essentially, the circular master pack is a product-as-a-service. According to Unterman, Apical will place scannable QR codes on cardboard shipping cases that retailers will scan to schedule the pickup of empty packaging cases. Each packaging item can be reused up to 12 times before it gets worn out and recycled.
Unterman also expressed that while the master packs have a long way to go in terms of aesthetics, they represent the first significant step toward a reuse economy. According to the CEO, their goal is not to find a way to deal with waste but to eliminate it altogether. Although there have been efforts to eliminate poor weed packaging practices in the past, the circular master pack tackles it from a more innovative angle.
What’s more, Unterman iterated that apart from reducing waste, the circular master pack has other advantages that will further advance the cannabis industry. For instance, the program will help reduce producers’ packaging costs compared to single-use packaging. As a result, businesses will be able to improve their bottom line and allocate financial resources to other matters.
Similarly, the circular master pack will help provide data on retail product distribution through the scannable QR codes. Consequently, this will enable retailers to gather significant insight into the market, such as how long it takes to deplete a specific amount of inventory. It will also allow entrepreneurs in the industry to plan accordingly for their businesses.
Additionally, Apical has partnered with Friendlier to manage logistics. The latter is an Ontario company that provides reusable takeout containers to food service businesses and facilitates the infrastructure required to reuse the packaging. So far, three cannabis producers are participating in the pilot project, with more expected to join as Apical inches closer to realizing its dream.
The wholesale pilot project allows Apical to test its infrastructure and make necessary changes before venturing into the consumer market, where it can make the most impact. Although there is still a long way to go before Apical’s dream becomes a reality, this initiative represents a step in the right direction for the company and the industry.