Why is there so much packaging?

Published on December 9, 2018 by Jenny Neufeld

Photo: Contributed
Lots of packaging is shown from various cannabis products.

Along with our readers, we’re concerned about the amount of packaging used for cannabis products.

We’ve been thinking about solutions – and encourage you to email us at [email protected] with any ideas on how to lessen the waste.

In the meantime, we checked out what the BC Cannabis Store has to say about packaging.

Why is there so much packaging?

There are many regulations and requirements for cannabis packaging. It must be tamper-evident, child-resistant, able to prevent contamination, and to keep the product dry. It must also be appropriately sized to display information, such as the type of product, THC and CBD levels, standardized symbols and warnings from Health Canada.

Why can’t consumer just refill their empty containers?

All packages must individually sealed with a Canadian government excise duty tag by a licensed producer before being shipped out to the BC Cannabis Stores’s Distribution Centre for sale. This makes refills an impossibility.

Is the packaging recyclable?

Plastic packaging with a recycling symbol and code that indicates what type of plastic was used to create it can be recycled, as well as most paper and card packaging. Some of the plastic pouches used to package are part of a pilot program by Recycle BC and can be recycled. There is research currently being done about how recycling the multi-laminated plastic packaging might work. As for “anything that is unable to be recycled (it) will be recovered and produced into engineered fuel.”

In the oz.’s opinion, the cannabis industry is one that is heavily regulated by the government in a way that seems to produce an excess of packaging. For the time being one of the best ways for you to ensure you are doing your part to recycle what you can is make good use of your curbside blue bin or collection depot and check out the Recycling Council of British Columbia for all the details.

Canadians weigh in…

“Hopefully they start to think about how to recycle or reuse those plastic bottles. Up to this point they have just been focused on producing product and getting ready for legalization. The beer industry was actually an early innovator in recycling, so maybe the cannabis industry will follow suit.”

“These people need to blame Health Canada. The answer isn’t forcing LPs to use glass, the answer isn’t forcing them to give discounts for returning containers, the answer is to loosen the packaging regulations. Health Canada needs to stop treating Canadians like children.”

“The wasteful packaging has to do with it being childproof. Can’t use smellproof ziplocks because kids can get into those, can’t use glass jars because those don’t have safety lids… eventually they will figure out a eco friendly way to package it but until they the more people complain the quicker it can be addressed.”

Here’s a snarky solution:

Feature photo from Reddit documenting the packaging garbage for a 7.5-gram order from the Ontario Cannabis Store.