Recycling Programs in the Cannabis Industry

by Mayra Medina

Each year, Americans throw away 1,200 pounds of organic waste while recycling only 67.2 million tons of 267.8 million tons of recyclable material, according to RTS. Given state-by-state packaging requirements in the cannabis industry, it’s no secret that excessive cannabis packaging waste plays a role in this number. According to a study from Re Waste, an estimated 12.7 to 14.1 million pounds of plastic from cannabis packaging ended up in landfills between October 2018 and August 2019. As a leading international provider of consumer products in cannabis, Curaleaf is actively taking steps to address this matter on a local level. 

In April, we partnered with Resinate, a recycling and remanufacturing company based in Phoenix, to launch a statewide program dedicated to reducing cannabis packaging waste. As part of the long-term partnership, all Curaleaf dispensaries in Arizona were outfitted with collection barrels where customers are able to drop off their cannabis packaging for recycling. Each month, Resinate collects the packaging and recycles it, using a portion of the material to create and sell plastic rolling trays. 

Our partnership with Resinate has made an immediate impact in the local community by creating a convenient way for our customers to recycle. To date, we have recycled more than 620 pounds of plastic and saved more than 31,000 containers from landfills. More than 600 recyclers have signed up for rewards and it’s estimated that more than 1,000 people have participated in the program at Curaleaf since it began. 

The importance of environmental responsibility cannot be limited to one partnership or initiative. On the national level, our corporate social responsibility team partnered with Map Collective, a female-founded carbon tracking and supply chain transparency startup, to examine and establish a baseline of our environmental impact to compare against future efforts. With this ecological baseline determined, our team has begun the second phase of our sustainability efforts with the goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2025.

As one of the largest global cannabis companies, we recognize both the responsibility and the privilege to lead by example. Resinate and Map Collective are just two partners within our Rooted In Good corporate social responsibility platform, which is committed to demonstrating that big cannabis can be good cannabis, and good cannabis can be good business — one program, one partner and one neighborhood at a time. 

Mayra Medina is senior marketing manager at Curaleaf.


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