The legalized marijuana industry is among the fastest rising industries in the United States, as many states currently have laws explicitly legalizing marijuana in some manner (or decriminalizing it)–and the industry is expected to expand in the future.

Entrepreneurs in the cannabis industry, more fondly known as cannapreneurs, know that being green is more relevant than ever. Not only does our troubled Earth demand eco-friendly products, but cannabis purchasers do too. Also, organic cannabis packaging in today’s increasingly competitive marketplace will improve a brand and make it pop out.

A green pledge draws a very significant segment of the market: Millennials. A whopping 73 percent of millennials are ready to pay more for sustainable goods, according to research.

Why Are Companies Hesitant to Go Eco-Friendly?

It is simply not important to some cannabis farmers and production companies that they use recyclable products, but that is not always the reason they are reluctant.

The truth is that environmental sustainability is more costly, which moves up the bottom line of a business, which means that sustainable design on retail shelves results in a more expensive item. The bargain’s significance is often more valuable, and to companies facing poor sales, the environment is the least pressing concern.

While small-scale cannabis growing farms are actively pursuing eco-friendly sustainability, most large farms still rely on farming practices that do more harm than good.

“Green” Marketing: Fact or Fiction?

Sustainability is complex. Anyone can say that a product is profitable, or eco-friendly, or “green.” You will find lots of green washing if you glance around the aisles of your grocery store.

“Green-washing” is when a business deceivingly indicates that its product lines are sustainable. Typically done with a picture of a farm or the Earth itself, these brands lie through their teeth about being environmentally friendly to sway the customer towards them.

The same is the case for cannabis packaging materials. Is the carton used for your product made of recycled paper? And if it was, how are you going to know? Besides, what are the trade-offs that have taken place to get that added value? A cheap production technique, for example, could release toxins into the groundwater. Or, because of its production facility’s location, a green product could actually incur more carbon output during shipment.

The Slow Climb Towards an Eco-Friendly Cannabis Industry

Fortunately, for cannabis companies who wish to minimize their waste generation, there are some innovative solutions out there. For example, some businesses are developing an eco-friendly cannabis packaging design solution. They sell a reusable, biodegradable, child-resistant kit that is completely compliant with legislation. The tab locking mechanism enables adult consumers to open the package conveniently while avoiding accidental ingestion by children and pets.

Some are tackling the problem of cannabis growers’ bio-waste, converting waste plants into pulp that is later converted into paper. It offers on-site safe repositories for farmers, which they pick up and take away until finished. The organic waste is then delivered to a treatment plant, where the material is decomposed and immersed in an organic solution that eliminates THC entirely.

Significant progress has been made in using cannabis to store cannabis. To produce a polymer that has plastic appeal for cannabis storage, many businesses use crop-based manufactured hemp. And to make new cannabis boxes and tubes, several companies are seeking ways to recycle the plastic used in our oceans.

The Balance Between Biodegradability and The Bottom Line

Knowledge of possible alternatives to wasteful practices, such as the several strategies that have been highlighted above, begins the first steppingstone to sustainable practices.

For most cannabis organizations, environmental sustainability is often a complete afterthought, if they even think about it at all. That’s why educational awareness is essential for altering attitudes and actions towards cannabis waste stream recycling, reduction, and disposal.

The more people in the marijuana market are aware that there is a considerable waste issue, the more our society is equipped to change bad practices through creativity and cooperation with each other.

The long-term effectiveness of the cannabis market and our planet’s well-being, which includes the natural habitat and individuals, i.e., patients, customers, and workers, are imperative for building a strong set of environmental standards for cannabis wrapping and enforcing circular packaging systems.