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Waste Not Want Not: Reusing Your Cannabis Packaging

Let’s face it: No one really loves the stiff plastic cannabis packaging that accompanies every dispensary sale. Sure, those bags are designed to be kid-proof, but often as not they end up being adult-proof as well! What’s more, you can’t just easily recycle most of them along with your other waste products (we’ll talk about some exceptions in a moment).

We think it’s kind of silly to talk about all the good cannabis can do for us—soothing our bodies and minds, sparking creativity and delight, among other things—without addressing the need to make and keep it sustainable.

So with that in mind, here are some tips on how you can recycle some kinds of cannabis packaging, along with ideas on how to reuse those you can’t! Let’s learn how to make the green truly green….

Reusing Your Cannabis Packaging: Types You Can Recycle

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As you’re well aware, cannabis is one of the most highly packaged products we use on a regular basis. That’s largely due to state and local ordinances designed to reduce the possibility of young people accidentally having access to marijuana (a stance we’re 100% in favor of, needless to say). But it’s problematic in that cannabis—a natural agricultural product—requires heavy, non-recyclable packaging materials like mylar to be legally compliant.

That some kinds of cannabis packaging are relatively easy to recycle. These include:

  • Glass jars: Always recyclable, but you should remove, reuse, or discard plastic caps first.
  • Uncoated paper boxes and printed promotional materials: Always recyclable along with cardboard and other paper materials.
  • Aluminum tins: Always recyclable along with other metal recycling.
  • Certain types of plastic: Unfortunately, the standards for plastic recycling vary from city to city. Aside from the mylar “exit bags” (more on those in a moment), look closely at plastic cannabis packaging for a stamped number. Then consult your local recycling authority to find out which ones recycle. In Los Angeles, for instance, you can recycle plastics # 1 – 7.

Reusing Your Cannabis Packaging: Types You Can Upcycle

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In the sustainability world, “upcycling” means using what might ordinarily be trash to make something even better than it was! And that’s a perfect way to think about the thick mylar bags that must legally accompany sales of cannabis products. Here are some starter ideas:

  • Travel pouch for toiletries: An exit bag is generally way sturdier than a standard toiletry bag, and will hold jewelry, soaps and shampoos, and anything else you ask of it. (Be aware that carry-on bags must be see-through.)
  • Storage for adventurers: If you’re backpacking or adventuring someplace, lean on these sturdy bags for necessary items like first aid kits, high-value foods, or dry socks.

Do you have more questions about recycling or reusing cannabis packaging? Just ask. We’re always here to help!

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