People have long raised concerns over the environmental impact of marijuana. This includes everything from pollution and resource use associated with growing weed. These concerns also include large-scale shipping and transportation, along with many other issues. While these concerns have a lot to do with the black market, many if not all of them have carried over into the legal market as well. With that in mind, here are 9 ways the weed industry can get greener.
At virtually every step of the process from production to retail, the legal marijuana industry can divert waste away from landfills. This would include composting all plant waste rather than throwing it away.
Similarly, producers can limit the amount of packaging used on products. Alternatively, they could opt for recyclable or compostable packaging materials.
Additionally, retailers can place a renewed focus on recycling as much as possible. They could even offer rewards programs to incentivize customers to recycle packaging.
Limit Use of Chemicals
Chemical waste has been one of the most pressing environmental concerns plaguing the marijuana scene. In particular, illegal grows often use pesticides and insecticides that poison local wildlife and taint nearby water sources.
These types of chemicals are also harmful to whoever ends up consuming the weed. To scale back the degree of environmental and health damage caused by the production process, marijuana growers and producers should look for ways to use non-toxic fertilizers, pesticides, and insecticides. Organic growing can also help avoid contaminants.
Keep it Local
The legal cannabis industry can decrease its environmental impact by focusing on keeping things as local as possible. When cultivation, production, and retail sites are relatively close to one another, it limits the need for long-distance shipping and transportation.
This, in turn, cuts back on the pollution involved in getting cannabis and cannabis products from the grow site into the hands of consumers.
Marijuana is infamous for requiring tons of water to grow. As such, this is a key area for improvement. For starters, cannabis growers should focus on ways to make watering more precise so that only plants are watered, and not an entire tract of land.
Similarly, growers around the country are beginning to explore options for reusing and recycling water. Additionally, growing techniques such as aeroponics may help limit the amount of water used to grow marijuana.
Instead of constructing brand new buildings, cannabis companies could focus on reusing infrastructure that already exists.
For example, cultivators growing cannabis indoors could retrofit an already existing warehouse rather then building a brand new grow on a brand new plot of land. Similarly, dispensaries could open shop in a reused building rather than constructing an entirely new storefront.
By switching to renewable energy, the cannabis industry could quickly decrease its environmental footprint. Once again, this is a change that would impact virtually every step of the process.
Renewable energy could be used at grow sites to fuel lighting and ventilation systems. Similarly, retail stores could switch to renewable energy for their daily operations.
Smart Land Use
For outdoor growers, smart, efficient, and sustainable land use should be a top priority. Rather than monocropping huge tracts of land, cannabis growers could implement growing patterns that are less disruptive and easier on the land.
Additionally, growers should be aware of nearby water sources and wildlife, and ensure that their growing activities do not harm or disrupt these ecosystems.
Energy Efficient Lights
If cannabis companies switched to more efficient lights, they could significantly shrink their environmental footprint. Even better, cannabis companies could combine energy efficient forms of lighting with renewable energy sources like solar or wind.
Packaging is a big concern in the cannabis industry. That’s because weed-legal states typically have very strict and precise rules for what types of packaging can and cannot be used for cannabis and cannabis products.
But the marijuana industry could go greener if cannabis companies adopt improved packaging practices. Wherever possible, companies could minimize the number of materials used. On top of that, companies could opt for materials that are easy to recycle, or even go with compostable materials.
There Are Many Ways The Weed Industry Can Get Greener
Cannabis companies have a lot to juggle. Obviously, they have to keep their customers happy with a top-notch product. But at the same time, they have to follow tons of very strict legal protocols and requirements.
Yet even in the midst of these demands, there are straightforward ways to make the industry more environmentally friendly and sustainable. In fact, going green could become an increasingly important priority for the young industry, especially as it continues to grow.