Going green for green

Published on April 24, 2019 by David Wylie

Tweed is launching a national recycling program for cannabis packaging.

The cannabis company partnered up with TerraCycle and in October 2018, they introduced the program in select stores and provinces.

They are now rolling out country-wide.

“Over 165,000 containers have already been collected through the Tweed x TerraCycle program and will be melted down to make plastic pellets used to create new products,” says Hilary Black, Tweed’s Chief Advocacy Officer.

Everything accepted

The news release says the ‘Tweed x TerraCycle Cannabis Packaging Recycling Program’ accepts all cannabis containers from all licensed producers — including tins, plastic bags, tubes, and bottles with child-proof caps, which are notoriously tricky to recycle.

The program is currently active in over 106 legal cannabis retail locations across Canada, including all Tweed and Tokyo Smoke stores, and some third-party retailers.

There are drop off points at participating retail stores. You can also register online through for free pickup and recycling of their discarded containers.

“By partnering with Tweed, we’ve given consumers a free and easy way to divert cannabis packaging from landfills,” said Tom Szaky, CEO, TerraCycle. “Through this ground-breaking recycling solution, these now common items are collected on a national scale from all licensed producers and given a second life as a different product, thereby extending the lifecycle of the packaging material.”

Q&A with the BC Cannabis Store

BC’s provincial cannabis store has been fielding concerns about the amount of packaging that can come with some products.

It set out to answer questions about packaging regulations and ways that you can help create less waste by recycling your cannabis containers.

Why is there so much packaging?

The federal Cannabis Act sets out regulations for cannabis product packaging with strict requirements around specific product information, such as the type of cannabis product (dried flower, oil, capsule or seed), levels of THC and CBD, the standardized cannabis symbol and mandatory selected warnings from Health Canada. Cannabis must be packaged in a container that is tamper-evident, child-resistant, prevents contamination, and keeps the cannabis dry (to reduce the potential growth of mould). Non-medical cannabis product packages must be sized enough to accommodate this required information.

Why can’t I bring my plastic tub back for a refill?

Current federal regulations mandate that cannabis products are securely and individually packaged by licensed producers, sealed with a Canadian Government excise duty tag, and safely transported to the BC Cannabis Stores’ Distribution Centre and stores. Therefore, it’s not possible to bring back containers for a refill; however clean containers can be recycled at your local recycling depot or curbside collection.

Can I recycle the packaging?

Check the bottom of your plastic container for a code (seen within the recycling symbol), which denotes the type of plastic used to manufacture the product.

You may see a 1, which is a common plastic code that shows the product is made from Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET). Soft drink containers (and dried flower packaging) often feature this plastic, which can be recycled into a number of useful items such as pillow stuffing, t-shirts, carpeting, or even more containers.

Plastic code 2 stands for High Density Polyethylene (HDPE), which is commonly found on milk and juice jugs, yogurt containers and shampoo bottles: it can be recycled into blue boxes and playground equipment.

Another common plastic code is 5, which is the symbol for Polypropylene (PP). Often found on syrup and ketchup bottles (and on dried flower packaging), Polypropylene can be recycled into objects such as ice scrapers.

Most paper and card packaging can be recycled, with the exception of waxed paper in some locations.

Where can I recycle my empty packaging?

Most paper and plastic based packaging can be recycled at curbside, multi-family, and depot collections in the Multi-Material BC (MMBC) residential packaging and printed paper plastic recycling program, depending on your location in BC. For more information, please visit the Recycling Council of British Columbia.

Source: The BCCS.