It’s Earth Day; We Need to Talk About Plastics

Plastic: it’s everywhere.

Happy Earth Day, Sespe Community!

Let’s begin with a little history. After the celebration of that first Earth Day in 1970, President Richard Nixon established the Environmental Protection Agency and signed the Clean Air Act into law.

It’s a reminder that we can accomplish big things when citizens stand together to demand a safe, healthy environment.

Today, we have some real progress to celebrate. The state of California has reduced its carbon emissions to levels we haven’t seen since 1990, and we managed to hit our statewide goal four years ahead of schedule.

We, of course, have much more to do. Climate change and environmental degradation present an existential threat to our way of life. But solutions are indeed within reach.

As a business that sells plant medicine, we feel a special responsibility on Earth Day (and every day) to think about the ways in which we impact our environment. And we have a waste problem.

According to Sana Packaging, a cannabis industry start-up that manufactures sustainable cannabis packaging, the industry as a whole will generate more than one billion units of single-use plastic packaging per year by 2020. I assume we’ve all seen the horrid photos of plastic waste clogging the world’s oceans. Unfortunately, when we purchase single-use plastics, we’re contributing to the problem.

Now, some plastics are indeed recyclable are sold on a secondary recycling market in order to be reused. That is largely not the case with plastic cannabis waste, according to Sana.

Sana Packaging and others are offering solutions, however. Sana has introduced a line of cannabis packaging made from hemp-based plastic and plastic waste reclaimed from our oceans. Sungrown Packaging and KushCo are developing biodegradable packaging for cannabis products.

And here’s the good news: the only reason that there’s a market for environmentally friendly cannabis products is because of us, the consumers. Remember plastic straws? A consumer outcry over the environmental impact of single-use plastic straws has led many businesses to offer biodegradable versions.

As cannabis consumers, we must take that lesson and apply it to the industry we each participate in. Do you have a particular cannabis company you buy from regularly? Let them know that you expect them to phase out single-use plastics in their business. At Sespe, we host cannabis vendors in the dispensary just about every day. Check out our calendar, pay your favorite brand rep a visit, and inquire about their environmental practices!

The truth here is that consumers wield tremendous power, and our government isn’t addressing our environmental challenges at the scale it should. So we must. And we can.

After all, it was a group of environmental activists who managed to compel a Republican President of the United States to found the Environmental Protection Agency.

Stay tuned this week for a series of blog posts about cannabis’ impact on our environment, and what we can each do to make ours a more sustainable industry.

One comment on “It’s Earth Day; We Need to Talk About Plastics

  1. Good article, packaging needs to be addressed always. In the news, Amazon Corp, is using a new recyclable bag for shipping products but the address label when glued on the package makes the package unrecyclable. Keep our environment in your heads.

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