It’s no secret that the legal cannabis industry is growing exponentially in Missouri as well as nationwide. Missouri is one of an increasing number of states participating in legal cannabis sales — one of 37 states with legalized medical or recreational cannabis, and now one of 21 states that have fully legalized cannabis for recreational adult use.
Like any other industry, the cannabis industry has a responsibility to be aware of and responsive to its impacts. While we often recognize the positive social and economic impacts of cannabis legalization, we must also be aware of other areas that are impacted by the cannabis industry, in particular, the environment.
Adding to the Waste Stream
Along with the exponential growth of the cannabis industry comes a significant amount of waste. Consider the following statistics about cannabis industry waste streams in North America:
The legal cannabis industry produces approximately 8 pounds of waste per pound of cannabis consumed. — Health Canada
In the US
The legal cannabis industry in the United States produces about 150 million tons of waste each year. — Marijuana Moment
The very nature of the cannabis industry — moving plants through a cycle of growth to consumable products — requires dealing with large volumes of plant waste. In some cases facilities can produce over 2,000 pounds of green waste per week. The methods used to remediate this plant waste largely determines the impact on the environment, be it positive or negative — sustainable or detrimental.
Adding to the Waste Stream Sustainability
As responsible stewards of our environment, we want our endeavors to increase sustainability, thus decrease the negative environmental impact.
Although Missouri is still a new market, a number of Missouri cannabis brands are already increasing sustainability by implementing sustainable waste practices.
One simple and effective way to implement sustainable waste practices in the cannabis industry is to compost plant waste. When a facility composts its cannabis waste, it prevents this waste from going into overflowing landfills and producing harmful greenhouse gasses.
Composting lowers greenhouse gasses by improving carbon sequestration in the soil and by preventing methane emissions (a major source of greenhouse gas) through aerobic decomposition, as methane-producing microbes are not active in the presence of oxygen. — EPA
Impact of Waste Stream Sustainability
Cannabis facilities that incorporate composting into their waste management plan prevent plant waste and other compostable waste streams from going into overflowing landfills; thus standing out in an increasingly-wasteful world. Consumers are aware of the potential for excess waste in the cannabis industry, and are looking at brands to take environmentally responsible steps to reduce their impact.
A sustainable cannabis waste plan requires time, energy, labor, rendering material, equipment, transportation, and disposal fees. A cannabis waste service can streamline this process to make it convenient and affordable for its clients.
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