In an effort to divert wasteful marijuana packaging, the Niagara Herbalist in St. Catharines, Ontario, has begun offering store credit in exchange for empty cannabis containers.
“People deserve to be rewarded for taking steps towards living more sustainably, and we’re trying to do our part by taking on the costs of compensating our customers for their initiative,” Jessica Bonilla, co-owner of the Niagara Herbalist, said in a pre-release announcing the program.
“This is an area in which we’re able to make a difference, so we want to do whatever we can to ensure we are working towards a future where the cannabis industry as a whole can be more sustainable.”
According to their website, the Niagara Herbalist will offer 10 Canadian cents (8 U.S. cents) for glass jars and bottles. Plastic containers, cardboard containers, pre-roll packaging, vape packaging, and cans are all 5 Canadian cents each.
The cannabis packaging buy-back program requests the packaging be clean, empty, and free of contamination.
Single-use plastic and wasteful packaging is an unfortunate reality across the cannabis industry. The industry also deals with inconsistent regulation when it comes to sustainable marijuana packaging.
“The problem is that so many of the products in the cannabis industry, not all of them are recyclable. Some of the plastics may look like they can be recycled, but they can’t,” Kevin Trethowan, co-owner of Niagara Herbalist, said in a phone interview with MJBizDaily.
“So what happens is, customers put all of these products into their recycling bin, and when they get to the facility for sorting, you have tons of products which can’t be recycled. It adds time and cost for those people to re-sort those products, and all of the containers that can’t be recycled go into a landfill.”
The Niagara Herbalist’s program also collects non-recyclable items and finds ways of repurposing them. The program at this time does not accept vape cartridges and batteries.
Niagara College’s Environmental Management and Assessment program provided some assistance to the store’s program, a year-and-a-half in the making.
The store’s efforts to be more sustainable echo across the marijuana industry, where cannabis packaging suppliers also seek to be more environmentally friendly.