In an industry fraught with serious waste and environmental issues, cannabis businesses look for more ways to recycle. Generally, vape cartridges and all-in-one pensare made from recyclable materials however, they’re creating thousands of pounds of refuse every year.
Disposable pens were created for convenience. No need to re-fill or charge, just inhale and throw away. Many customers save cartridges in hopes to recycle them but aren’t sure where to take them. In addition, some dispensaries have made efforts to set out collection boxes for customers to recycle these products, but the stores have just accumulated large piles of waste as well.
Regulatory challenges further hinder the recycling process. Laws say that customers can bring items back to the store to recycle, but they consider it return. As a customer return, the product can only be taken back to the store where they bought it. It’s up to that store to ensure that the pieces contaminated by cannabis are removed an rendered unusable or unrecognizable.
Companies like OMG Farms have now created recycling programs that offer incentives to businesses and dispensaries that participate in them because the recycling problem is so severe. In April of this year, California sold approximately $52.3 million in vape products. That’s 25 percent of all cannabis sales in the state. That means that there are more than one million products that must be disposed of. The various pieces of pens can either be recycled or reused in other devices or products.
OMG set up a collection area and will reward businesses that recycle these items by deducting money from their next order. They will take any recyclable product but typically pay more for vape pens. While it’s difficult to reward each individual customer, for every product received OMG promises to donate money to protect rain forests. Dispensaries can entice their customers to bring in their products for recycling by offering a percentage or set dollar amount off of their next purchase.
Moving forward, businesses are actively working together to reduce the waste despite the added headache caused by regulations. Much like other great revolutions in the world, new industries like the cannabis market often learn in the beginning by trial and error.