A California dispensary is calling attention to the environmental impact of cannabis packaging waste with a campaign that encourages customers to help recycle some of the industry’s plastic into diesel fuel. And to thank the company’s clientele for its support, customers who bring in plastic packaging from cannabis products into Airfield Supply Co. of San Jose, California will get a special reward for their trouble.

The problem of plastic waste is not a new one, Airfield Supply Co. noted in a press release about the campaign, which was planned for the run-up to the 4/20 cannabis high holiday. Approximately 6.3 billion tons of plastic have been produced worldwide in the last 60 years, but only 9% of that total has been recycled. And each year, about 300 million pounds of cheap plastic waste is generated, with about 8 million pounds of it ending up in the world’s oceans.

Unfortunately, the legal cannabis industry has become a significant contributor to the problem of plastic packaging waste. Because of strict regulations governing how cannabis products must be packaged, many end up being marketed in much more plastic than is really necessary.

Child-resistant and tamper-evident packaging is mandatory in California but often that means brands use extra plastic to achieve compliance, and that contributes a massive volume of single-use plastic, including some 2 million single-joint tubes to the state’s waste stream and landfills each year,” Airfield Supply Co. chief marketing officer Chris Lane said in a statement from the company. 

Be A Part Of The Solution. Recycle Your Cannabis Packaging

To help address the issue, Airfield has partnered with Sonoma County cannabis manufacturer CannaCraft, recycling innovator Resynergi, and other licensed brands to turn plastic cannabis packaging into diesel fuel. During the week leading up to 4/20 (April 13 through April 20), customers who bring plastic packaging from a cannabis product to recycle will receive a coupon to purchase a specially designated product for only 10 cents with a dispensary purchase of $25 or more. Members of the cannabis community are encouraged to recycle as much clean cannabis packaging as possible, but coupon distribution is limited to one per customer per day of the campaign.

“Our intent is to entice customers during the week of 4/20 to bring in cannabis waste by offering a coupon for those who do to get a $.10 special item,” said Lane.

Ten-cent gift coupon choices available for customers who participate in the campaign include a single Cann infused beverage, full-sized tins of PLUS cannabis gummies, half-gram ABX vape cartridges, half-gram Jetfuel pre-rolls, single Big Pete infused cookies, one gram Pure Beauty pre-rolls, Papa & Barkley Releaf samples, Select Nano gummies, and more. Lane said that the company hopes the incentives will encourage them to make recycling a part of their lifestyle.

“We want to see what we can achieve when we motivate our base to participate, raise more general awareness for recycling efforts and try to drive more adoption of recycling practices,” he said. “Our goal is always to use our voice to drive positive change, for the environment and the community. Every piece of plastic recycled is a step in that right direction.”

The participating cannabis brands have all agreed to drop their wholesale cost of the products for the promotion to only 10 cents, “which is a significant wholesale discount, and really speaks to their willingness to drive sustainable action in the cannabis community,” said Lane.

“CannaCraft is happy to discount our ABX products to call attention to the plastic crisis plaguing our environment, communities, and now the cannabis industry. We began working on these recycling programs with Resynergi and dispensaries in 2019 when California regulations required additional child-resistant packaging for cannabis products,” Jim Hourigan, CannaCraft CEO said in an email to High Times. “We hope that by encouraging and incentivizing customers to recycle this packaging, we can get the industry in the habit of making responsible choices that benefit all of us as well as the planet.” 

Airfield Supply Co. estimates that if only a third of the customers who visit the dispensary during the campaign participate in the recycling effort, 250 pounds of plastic cannabis packaging waste can be collected and recycled, enough to produce 25 gallons of diesel. So, if you’re in the Bay Area, need some weed, and have plastic cannabis packaging laying around, here’s your chance to get a quality California cannabis treat for only a dime. Not a bad deal!

A.J. Herrington


A.J. Herrington is a San Diego-based writer and photographer covering cannabis and the environment.

Cannabis Packaging Waste Is A Problem. A California Dispensary Is Addressing It

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