It has been estimated that the cannabis industry produces at least a billion units of plastic waste per year. Much of that waste comes from single-use plastics used in retail packaging. Switching from single-use plastic packaging to recyclable or compostable packaging can significantly reduce the environmental impact of cannabis products and give cannabis companies a competitive edge with eco-minded consumers 

Sustainable cannabis packaging falls into two categories – recyclable and compostable. Recyclable packaging gives consumers the option to dispose of their packaging responsibly so it can be recycled into something newRecyclable packaging can be made from glass, plastic, or paper.  

Recyclable plastic pouches offer a blend of product protection and versatility that caters to a variety of types of cannabis products. Pouches can be used with nitrogen flush methods to protect delicate flowers, or vacuum-sealed to enhance freshness. Although these pouches are not usually accepted in curbside recycling, they can be dropped off for recycling anywhere that accepts plastic grocery bags.  

Recyclable packaging is a big step in the right direction, unfortunately not every consumer will take the initiative to recycle it. Even recyclable glass and plastic materials can take decades to breakdown in a landfill. Paper is biodegradable, but it offers subpar product protection. 

Recently, packaging manufacturers have developed new types of compostable cannabis packaging that are biodegradable and durable. Compostable packaging is the most environmentally sustainable option because it is friendly to the earth no matter where it ends up. Compostable pouches can be the perfect solution for cannabis buds, edibles, liquids, and concentrates.  

Whichever sustainable packaging solution you choose, be sure to let your consumers know about it. Labeling helps consumers know how and where to recycle packaging. It also attracts eco-conscious consumers to your brand.  

Look for packaging companies that partner with the How2Recycle program. How2Recycle is a standard labeling system that provides clear instructions on whether a product is recyclable or not, and how to do it. A label can mean the difference between someone recycling a package and tossing it in a landfill.  

To learn more about recyclable and compostable cannabis packaging and how you can help solve cannabis’ disposable plastic problem, log on to