The demand for CBD sustainability in both products & packaging is rapidly growing.
While there's still a misconception among some people that CBD and the CBD industry are earth-conscious and green, we know that the most profitable way to make CBD products isn't necessarily the most sustainable. While sustainable CBD products are appearing on the market, and given the values of the majority of the consumer base, it will be important to make strides toward CBD sustainability.
That's a long way to say that your customers care whether your CBD packaging and products are sustainable. As the demand for sustainable CBD products grows, if you don't take action to show you're on board, you may lose customers. Let's examine some ways you can start moving in the direction of greater CBD sustainability.
Changing Fertilizers and Pesticides
Chemical fertilizers release vast amounts of nutrients for plants to absorb quickly. They’ve been the standard for years to achieve massive crop yields. Unfortunately, they may be killing the soil and reducing helpful bacteria and fungi that would otherwise be contributing to plant growth. The CBD industry is no stranger to using such fertilizers, but they have a long-term detrimental effect that can render an area unusable for future crops. The same goes for insecticides and herbicides meant to deter pests.
Thankfully, growth in CBD sustainability is possible and has been proven profitable by companies such as Benziger Wines. They take a 100% organic and sustainable approach to their wine and have been a beacon in the industry with their methods. The pressure on wine producers to be sustainable is higher than CBD simply because of the relative lack of awareness regarding CBD’s environmental impact.
Switching to more natural and soil-friendly fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides takes some research to find out what works with your particular soil and environment. You can also take a page from the Benziger book and look to natural predators for pests that may try to feast on your plants. You’ll probably end up using less water on your crops, as well, since they’ll be relying more on the environment for their needs.
The rules regarding discarded cannabis plants make clean disposal difficult. Once a cannabis plant is harvested, and the oils are extracted, the plant waste is discarded. Because there are fears on the government’s part that the discarded plants could be rounded up and used to create illegal drugs, the plants must be put into a 50/50 mix of cannabis waste and non-cannabis waste. In reality, this process is often done poorly.
There are several places discarded plants can end up:
- Landfills: Disposing of plants in landfills can create health and safety risks for those who work in and around such facilities.
- Incinerators: This doesn’t just mean burning the plants. The incineration process must involve particularly intense heat to ensure all volatile compounds are destroyed.
- Compost: In the effort to dispose of plants, they are often contaminated with substances such as bleach. This renders the composting process impossible. However, if the plants are clean, they are mixed with solid compost to foster bacterial growth to consume the plant matter.
- In-Vessel Digesters: This is the most efficient manner of composting because rather than leaving the material in the open air, the compost mix is in a controlled environment inside of a building. A container controls moisture, temperature, and airflow to achieve the optimal conditions to break down the plants.
Research disposal in your area to find the best place to take your discarded plants — this is critical in establishing CBD sustainability.. If you have procedures that involve treating the plants with chemicals before disposal to prevent them from being used to process illegal products, it may be better to increase security on such disposal shipments instead.
Packaging that Increases CBD Sustainability
Sustainable CBD involves every part of your production process, including the packaging. Containers and labels should all be recyclable — and unfortunately, it’s not simple to do. Part of the issue is that government regulations stipulate that the packaging must be child-proof. This has resulted in high use of plastic and single-use packaging.
Traditionally, plastic has been difficult to make recyclable or degradable, but that’s changing. Polylactic acid, also known as bioplastic, is sourced from plant material rather than oil. While it’s not biodegradable, it is compostable, making it far easier to dispose of than traditional plastic. It also has a much smaller carbon footprint to make. If you use glass bottles instead of plastic, you can source 100% recycled glass, too. This will please your customers since producing new glass can harm the environment.
If you need to use traditional plastic, one option is ocean plastic. It’s still petroleum-based, but it’s plastic that’s been removed from the ocean during cleanups. And it can be recycled so long as it can be cleaned.
Cardboard and Paper
As for boxes, corrugated cardboard is highly environmentally friendly, with 80% of boxes can be recycled or reused. It’s also cheap. Labels can be made from hemp paper, which, in addition to being made of the same source plant as the product inside, has the benefit of being stronger than standard paper labels while still being recyclable, biodegradable, and compostable.
If you have trouble sourcing hemp paper for any reason, you can also go with recycled paper. You will have to research the supplier to ensure that the paper is actually recycled. It will most likely be cheaper than hemp paper, but it will be less durable, too.
You will also want to encourage your customers to separate packaging materials before recycling. Most recycling centers won’t do any separation for you, so if you toss in a plastic bottle with its label still attached, there’s a good chance they’ll just end up throwing it away.
Partner with Us to Label Your Sustainable Packaging
CBD sustainability doesn’t have to mean unprofitable. You can make changes that enhance your bottom line while showing your customers that you are making strides in reducing your carbon footprint. Make no mistake, though; they still expect professional and consistent packaging, too. You can achieve that every day with a Pack Leader USA labeling machine. To ensure you get the best machine for your packaging line, read our CBD Industry Guide to Evaluating Labeling Equipment. You’ll get advice on size, options, functions, and speed to transform your packaging line. And remember, if you need to talk to us, we’re a free consultation away.