Which cannabis packaging is the most wasteful of them all?

Published on February 7, 2023 by David Wylie

Photo: David Wylie/the oz.
The cannabis industry is responsible for thousands of tons of waste, dozens of grams at a time.

Mika Unterman has collected thousands of pieces of cannabis packaging, gathering them for an analysis on which 3.5 gram packaging is the most wasteful in the market today.

She worked with Seneca College in Toronto to weigh and catalog them, and has now reduced them to the five worst offenders.

“The idea was to highlight packaging that had a large impact relative to the weight of the product, especially since most packages go to landfills because of the adhesive,” says Unterman in a chat with the oz.

Take Ace Valley, for example, which the study rated the worst. The packaging weighs 53 grams—15 times the 3.5 grams of dried flower inside.

How much cannabis packaging is ending up in the landfill?

Unterman founded Apical Ethical Cannabis Collective to advocate and work toward a more inclusive, sustainable and socially responsible cannabis industry.

Exactly how much cannabis packaging has ended up in landfills hasn’t been nailed down, but Unterman has guessed.

“We can only extrapolate but my understanding in talking with a few material recovery facilities is that less than 5% can be recycled,” says Unterman.

Unterman says there is a marketing benefit from being green; sustainability is a selling point that can create consumer loyalty.

Who are the top 5 worst offenders in cannabis packaging?


Read more about the challenges companies face trying to be sustainable in the cannabis industry in the oz. magazine.