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How can I recycle my cannabis packaging?

Good news: most Cannabis packaging can be recycled. Although there is growing concern from our customers regarding the amount of plastic used in legal recreational cannabis packaging, there are many options available to help keep it out of the landfill. Read on to learn why recreational packaging seems excessive and what you can do to combat excess waste.

Why is there so much packaging?

To protect against accidental consumption, ensure products are not appealing to children or youth, and to provide the consumer with the necessary information to make informed decisions, Licensed Producers must adhere to stringent packaging and labelling requirements enforced by the Federal Cannabis Act and Health Canada.

The Federal Cannabis Act specifies that cannabis must be packaged in containers that are:

  • Opaque or semi-transparent

  • Tamper-evident and child-resistant

  • Designed to prevent contamination and keep cannabis dry

These specific requirements make it difficult to use biodegradable materials that can fulfill all the necessary criteria.

Health Canada also has strict requirements for the information displayed on cannabis labels. Each Licensed Producer is responsible for producing packaging that includes: mandatory health warnings, a standardized cannabis symbol, and specific information about the product. Unfortunately, these stringent requirements result in the mandatory inclusion of bulky and excess packaging, regardless of the quantity of the product ordered.

Can I recycle my cannabis packaging?

Depending on where you live, most cannabis packaging can be recycled in your curbside recycling program or at your local recycling depot.

Cannabis products come packaged in a variety of formats including sealable envelopes, plastic jars, tubes and boxes. To determine the type of plastic used in your cannabis packaging, and whether it can be recycled, check the bottom of the container for a code displayed within the recycling symbol.

Curbside recycling programs vary between municipalities. Be sure to familiarize yourself with your local program’s restrictions and requirements.

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 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, except waxed paper in some locations.

Non-medical cannabis beverage packaging, such as cans and bottles, can be recycled.

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