The nationwide adoption of pro-cannabis laws and regulations is great for the public in terms of health, happiness and overall quality of life.
While the current “green revolution” is predominantly a overall positive one, with growth comes challenges, and one such challenge facing the cannabis industry now is packaging.
Packaging can be a massive hurdle for all types of companies who pride themselves on offering eco-friendly or environmentally responsible products.
According to the NGO Plastic Oceans there are over 300 tons of plastic produced each year with over 50% of those items designed for single-use and ending up in landfills or oceans.
How do you get a product that is designed, produced and marketed as earth friendly to market without using harmful or non-degradable packaging materials?
Fortunately eco-friendly packaging has been a problem under scrutiny for years in other industries ranging from food and beverage to clothing and even electronics.
Packaging As Green As The Products They Contain
Not to be left in the dust, marijuana product packaging companies are rising to the challenge en masse to provide eco-friendly packaging solutions that not only are kind to mother earth but also keep marijuana products fresh, clean, and out of reach of minors.
We’ve round up a series of companies that are currently at the forefront of environmentally packaging options, ranging from scent-proof flower packaging to edibles, accessories and everything in between.
If you are a cannabis entrepreneur looking to build a brand that will grow for decades to come we highly encourage you to consider going as green as possible when it comes to your product.
Cannabis consumers are generally very environmentally aware and paying it forward in terms of eco-responsibility is one way to capture the loyalty of the millions of cannabis lovers around the world.
The Eco-Friendly Checklist
There are a few things we look for when identifying promotion-worthy packaging companies. The more of these boxes they check the more earth friendly the brand:
- Are the materials naturally sourced?
- Do the materials biodegrade?
- Are the materials recyclable and if so, how much energy is required to recycle them?
- Are the materials multi-use or single-use in design?
- Do the materials contain any added chemicals that could pose health risks?
- Does the company get involved in the sustainability movement?
- Does the company make an effort to educate consumers on the value of eco-friendly packaging and living?
We research each company below and try to find as many of these unique indicators of corporate responsibility as possible.
*We are constantly updating our resources as companies evolve and material engineering advances.
Sun Grown Packaging
We have to start of this list with the grandfather of eco-friendly cannabis packaging products. Sun Grown Packaging (SGP) was the first sustainably focused cannabis packaging company in America.
In fact, SGP filed the very first patent for recyclable, compostable, child-resistant packaging products. They are also made in the United States, which cuts down on transportation waste/pollution usually involved with off-shore manufacturing/production.
SGP’s box is the only box that does not contain plastic that is also approved by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (which regulates the cannabis industry in Oregon).
The company is also a member of ASTM International, which is a voluntary organization that sets international standards for sustainability and environmentally responsible corporate practices.
Being eco-friendly doesn’t mean sacrificing on packaging design, durability or customization. Sun Grown has worked with many big names in the industry to create attractive eco-friendly options for a variety of brands ranging from pre-rolls to extracts. Some of these include:
- Gold Seal San Francisco
- Viola Extracts
- Kind Courier
- Temple Extracts
- Canna Clear Extracts
Overall we applaud Sun Grown for not only providing unique solutions but also for going out of their way to be active in the eco-friendly corporate community, for manufacturing domestically and for pushing the entire industry in the right direction.
Visit Sun Grown at https://www.sungrownpackaging.com/
Sana Packaging is a Denver based company that focuses exclusively eco-friendly packaging solutions for the cannabis industry specifically.
The company was founded by Ron Basak-Smith and James Eichner of the University of Colorado Boulder and quickly moved to Canopy Boulder accelerator where they developed Sana into what it is today.
In addition to landfill waste, one of the biggest problems with traditional packaging companies is their outsourcing of production to overseas, often to countries with poor environmental regulations.
With the pollution created in shipping goods around the world these old-school companies are doubly destructive. Sana bucks this trend by manufacturing only in the United States to eliminate this transportation waste.
Sana’s real innovation however is in their packaging. They produce sleek, durable, hemp-based plastic which is only plastic in name is it is made with 100% hemp material.
Why hemp? Well, first, why not put your marijuana products in a marijuana-based package? It’s a match made in heaven.
In terms of practicality however hemp is an excellent material choice as it’s sustainable and regenerative, requires less water than many other industrial crops and is naturally insect resistant which means it doesn’t require harmful pesticides to grow. So it’s no surprise hemp is making waves in the apparel industry as well because of it’s low environmental impact and high output quality.
Additionally, the plants themselves sequester tons (literally metric tons) of carbon dioxide and also make excellent rotational crops which helps rejuvenate the soil.
Sana Packaging is a proud supporter of the Colorado Association for Recycling and member of the Industrial Hemp Association.
They also regularly speak at industry conferences and symposiums about the importance of sustainability in the industry, becoming eco-evangelists for cannabis brands.
The innovative packaging, the community involvement and the promotion of sustainability make Sana Packaging a leader within the industry and we are excited to watch them grow.
Visit Sana Packaging at https://www.sanapackaging.com/
HISIERRA Dispensary Exit Bags
While some packaging companies try to be jack-of-all trades while mastering none the HISIERRA brand has gone the opposite route and instead has focused on making one product and making it well.
HISIERRA are makers of earth-friendly, cannabis-compliant, and kid safe exit bags for cannabis retailers who need secure bags for their product but also don’t want to destroy the earth in the process.
The bags themselves, while they appear to be just like other exit bags are made of sustainably and renewably farmed non-GMO sugarcane. These bags thus conform to ASTM 6866 sustainability requirements making them some of the greenest exit bags on the market.
Of course, the materials don’t matter much if the product is produced in an factor that isn’t green at all. This is not the case with HISIERRA as they also go to the effort to have their products made with manufacturing processes that only use 100% renewable wind power.
HISIERRA’s factory is LEED certified and uses zero fossil fuels in their production process. They are also located in the United States, employing locally and eliminating harmful shipping waste that comes with offshore production.
All of HISIERRAs bags are certified child-resistant and have been tested to a Child Safety Standard ASTM D3475 and also meet 16 CFR 1700.20 criteria, making them some of the most legally compliant cannabis bags on the market.
Combining the facts that the bags are made green, in green factories, locally, with wind-energy earns HISIERRA is truly on the cutting edge of responsible cannabis packaging.
Visit HISIERRA at https://hisierrabags.com/
FunkSac is one of the most well-known cannabis bag makers on the market. They were one of the first to market their products directly at the burgeoning legal marijuana industry and it has paid off enormously in brand recognition.
FunkSac’s biggest claim to fame, besides their funky name is their odor-free bags. They use a patent-pending odor-blocking technology that locks in even the dankest of scents.
They have received FDA approval to market their products as complete odorless storage solutions for flower products and other raw cannabis material.
Based out of Denver, Colorado, FunkSac is a veteran owned business that manufactures its products locally. This cuts down on transportation waste which is a common problem in the packaging industry.
FunkSac bags are robust in their child safety standards, having ISO certified testing to back up their child-proof claims.
The bags are meet legal compliance requirements for “tamper evident” bags, which is great for any cannabis service that delivers or ships their products.
The bags themselves are also made of eco-friendly materials and are fully recyclable as well.
They make a variety of bag sizes for a variety of purposes including bags for cultivators, bags for consumers, bags for drying and curing product, and bags for processed edibles.
Visit FunkSac at https://www.funksac.com/
While many companies focus on individual consumer-grade bags and other individual packaging solutions CRATIV is taking a unique approach and focusing on changing the mindset fo the industry by making multi-use boxes.
Once many bags have their seals broken they can’t legally be used in the retail process ever again.
If they are biodegradable they may eventually work their way back into the ecosystem but if not they are no better than single use straws or other plastic packages.
CRATIV makes their storage boxes in a way that allows them to be re-used as stash/storage boxes for years after their original function has been completed.
The cases are perfect storage options for pre-rolls, flower, edibles, extracts, and other yet to be released forms of cannabis product.
With an increased storage capacity the CRATIV cases are perfect for anyone who wants to offer more volume oriented sales, say a pack of 12 pre-rolls instead of just individual rolls.
Overall we really like how CRATIV is on a mission to disrupt the “single use” culture that currently permeates much of the legal cannabis industry.
Visit CRATIV at https://crativpackaging.com/
Higher Standard Packaging
While not all of Higher Standards packaging conforms to eco-friendly manufacturing standards they do have one stand-out all-star in their product lineup called the R² Container.
The R² is unique as it uses recycled milk jugs, which are in huge abundance as they are one of the biggest contributors to plastic waste in the United States.
The resin from these milk jugs is FDA-compliant and makes for great cannabis packaging solutions. These R² containers are both made in the U.S and are BPA-Free meaning they can have direct contact with infused cannabis and edibles alike.
Higher Standard boasts that recycled resin (from the milk jugs) uses 90% less energy during production and emits 78% less greenhouse gases than virgin resin used in other plastic manufacturing processes.
The R² is setting new standards for how common, everyday products can be recycled and incorporated into the new green economy.
Visit Higher Standard Packaging at https://higherstandardpackaging.com/
Nitrogen Cannabis Packaging
Nitrogen Cannabis Packaging or just N2 Packaging for short is one of the most innovative yet familiar packaging companies currently serving the cannabis industry.
Where others focus on what was, and what is currently the norm, N2 Packaging is focusing on cutting edge, patented solutions for the future.
Their most recognizable product is an aluminum metal tin that is sealed and opened just like a can of sardines with a metal pull top.
Flower manufacturers love this packaging because it can be nitrogen purged and hermetically sealed to keep even pharma-grade organic product fresh through the delivery chain.
Because the tops are metal pull tops and the units are air sealed they are also very obviously tamper-resistant.
The metal containers are extremely durable, can be re-used and keep in freshness for a much longer time when compared to other more eco-unfriendly plastic products.
So, next time you hear “weed in a can” or “canned weed” there is a good chance N2 Packaging is behind it and that’s a good thing because if it’s in a metal can that means it can be recycled.
Visit N2 at: https://n2pack.com/
Original Green Containers
Original Green Containers or just OG Containers for short, was founded out of a feeling many of have had walking the streets of legal states; empty plastic dispensary containers everywhere.
Not only is litter of all kinds ugly and potentially dangerous for wildlife, plastic weed containers littering the streets will continue to do so, forever, or until someone picks them up.
This is all a real drag, and puts the whole industry in a bad light to the non-cannabis using public. OG Containers aims to tackle this buy producing degradable starch and hemp biopolymer containers.
Based out of Newberg Oregon OG Containers manufacturers locally to reduce environmental impact and their containers will completely degrade over the course of about a year.
So don’t go about chucking these things anywhere just yet, litter of any kind is ugly and destructive. We hope that more dispensaries can get in touch with the popular eco-friendly ethos shared by many cannabis lovers and start packaging loose flower in Original Green Containers.
Visit OG Containers at: https://www.ogcontainers.com/
Re:stash Reusable Glass Jars
Another alternative to making biodegradable packaging is to switch to a packaging type that can be re-used, forever.
The law most often referred to by dispensaries not willing to fill your own jars is the consistent requirement by state governments that dispensary packaging all be in child-resistant packages (CPSC Certified Child Resistant to be specific).
Obviously you’re little garage-sale find jar won’t work if it doesn’t have this (easily cracked) child-resistant feature found on medicine bottles.
Re:Stash seems to have solved that problem by developing a child-resistant lid for the common glass mason jar. The lid is made of 30% repurposed farm waste and hemp fiber.
There is a BPA-free silicone sleeve for the glass jar too to protect it from accidental shatters, but you’ll still want to be careful with it (which you should be doing if it’s full of premo buds anyways).
The lids come in all colors and the silicone sleeves can be customized too. We’re hoping more dispensaries pick up on this trend and start offering their own branded Re:stash jars for sale so they have an eco-option for their eco-conscious regular customers.
Learn more about Re:stash: https://re-stash.com/
As we’ve shown there is a vibrant and growing community of environmentally-aware companies out there that are working to help clean up the cannabis industry and make it not only green in name but green in practice as well.
One way in which we can all contribute to the green movement is to make informed purchasing decisions as consumers, minimizing our use of plastic products and looking for recyclable or biodegradable options whenever possible.
Businesses should also consider switching packaging providers to one of the above mentioned brands as it is not only the responsible thing to do but can also increase your brands visibility in the eco-friendly community, which is a win-win scenario.