Concerns about the impact on the environment coming from the marijuana industry are popping up in articles all over the internet. Some articles question whether the industry will ever be environmentally friendly, while others praise the job that has been done so far; a mixed reaction to primarily the cultivation centers that remain resource intensive without any initiatives in place. One of the biggest sustainability issues stems from the fact that Cannabis is a thirsty plant, so water conservation is a must. Growers are listening to these environmental concerns and some are even hosting and teaching innovative sustainable practice workshops. While many people are on the fence with the sustainable grows, not much is said about the other areas of the industry just yet.
So, we raise the question of sustainable practices in the realm of packaging, retail, and the cannabis consumer market. Sustainable grows are an important point to start but Smokey’s invites you to extend this notion to the packaging and consumption end of the cycle. We challenge to steer this industry towards having a positive impact on our environmental footprint, instead of leaving us in worse shape than during the times of prohibition. How does the cannabis industry support sustainability beyond the grow, and how can we, as consumers, help?
The use of a guesstimated million+ tubes and drams each year (those colorful plastic containers that hold your flower, pre-rolls, and edibles) are 100% reusable and/or recyclable. Why throw them away? If you are like me you have a few of those reward cards/keychains and accounts with local businesses that give you points for dollars spent, including some dispensaries such as our beloved Smokey’s 420 House. To support sustainability, Smokey’s extends those rewards to the consumer by giving customers points for returned tubes and drams; one of the many reasons I am thrilled to work here. Sometimes you might even get an extra point boost, as we occasionally sneak in a double points recycling day (check the monthly calendar for possible dates) to show our appreciation for the consumer efforts to help the industry’s environmental footprint.
So what happens to these tubes and drams that are returned for recycling? Well, customers bring them back into either Smokey’s location (Garden City or Ft. Collins) to be collected. You can bring in containers from ANY dispensary, though we only give you points for our containers! From there, they are picked up by to be sterilized. The sterilization process exceeds the regulations set by the FDA. (Meaning that the containers/drams can then legally and safely can be reused. At which point, Smokey’s brings them back into the cycle to go back into the consumer's hands packaged with a bit of cannabis yet another time. With the scale Coloradans are consuming cannabis, you can see how this can quickly add up. To that I say fabulous!
Why is this important? Efforts are focused on the grows/cultivation centers right now. With a little education, that may also change the retail and consumer end of the industry soon. What better way to prove that this industry is not only concerned with sustainability in the grow, by supporting full reuse and recycling of marijuana packaging and extending those habits to the retail and consumer side of this exploding industry.