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20 Ways to Upcycle Cannabis Packaging

By Danyal Swan April 11, 2024

The ever-growing cannabis industry is one that strives for sustainability but faces an uphill battle when it comes to waste. As an agricultural industry, the importance of the environment is substantial, but rigid regulations and restrictions cannabis dispensaries are forced to deal with make it difficult – and tend to produce heavy packing waste. In general, cannabis packing ranges from 4-30 times the weight of the product that they hold. This waste continues to present a challenge for those working for the cannabis industry.

How do we make cannabis packaging more environmentally friendly? In Florida, we have taken great strides to do our part to care more for the environment and cut down on waste. We utilize biodegradable straws, cutlery, and containers. We consider little things like cutting soda holders to help our sea life. If we can take these measures to better the world around us, why isn’t recycling cannabis packaging feasible?

Discover 20 creative methods to repurpose your cannabis packaging, from jars that once held flowers to the pouches that packaged edibles, and everything in between like joint tubes and metal tins. Upcycling not only helps reduce your environmental footprint but also allows you to utilize seemingly insignificant items in innovative ways. In the cannabis industry, where recycling isn’t always straightforward, upcycling becomes a crucial practice for maintaining sustainability.

What are Recycling Challenges with Cannabis Packaging?

While the cannabis industry is highly regulated, many of these regulations are for good reasons. One of the factors driving these regulations is the need to ensure that the packaging is child resistant. While no one would argue the necessity to ensure children can’t physically access the cannabis products, it also presents a challenge for trying to cut down on non-recyclable material. With these regulations, many components of cannabis use can’t be recycled - marijuana vapes are one of the largest culprits.

The vape is one of the fastest growing sectors in the cannabis industry. It is easy and simple to use and allows the user a different level of discretion compared to other methods of use. But, cartridges are one of the leading non-recyclable items that create a challenge in sustainability. Not only is the cartridge non-recyclable, but vapes themselves, like disposables, are difficult to recycle. The difficulty with recycling lies in its variety of components that need to be separated to properly recycle.

In general, the rules and restrictions vary from state to state. This is an additional consideration to understanding how each different component may have to be recycled. Vapes can have a large assortment of different components such as glass, ceramic, batteries, coils and the cartridges themselves. As it stands, there is currently no way to recycle cartridges in Florida. Luckily, certain plastic materials can be rinsed of all residue and be recycled. There are seven different types of plastic, so it is important to be able to identify the type of plastic used in your cannabis packaging.

What Cannabis Packaging is Recyclable?

It may feel like a long list of things that aren’t recyclable, but there is also a list of things that are. These can vary from state to state, but in general:

• Glass, just make sure that it’s clean with no residue
• Uncoated paper boxes and paper materials
• Aluminum tins
• Certain types of plastics*

*Note: There are different types of plastic, some can be recycled, and some can’t. Your quickest and best option is to first find the number on your plastic container. These can usually be found at the bottom of the container. Once you know the number, call your local recycling center to confirm their policies. After confirmation from your center, be sure to wash the container and remove any outside labeling.

How MÜV Makes A Difference

In Florida, MÜV Medical Cannabis Dispensary is taking whatever steps possible to limit our use of non-recyclable materials. With over 60 stores, utilizing recyclable materials is a driving factor in our business model.

MÜV uses paper bags that are manufactured in the USA and are made of 100% FSC recycled material. This label means that these bags are verified to ensure that all the wood or paper in that product is genuinely recycled. We also utilize plastic bags that are made of sugarcane, making them biodegradable, and our Wana Soft Chews packaging is made of recycled materials. All flower jars and plastic tubes can be recycled after a thorough wash to remove all residue, and MÜV is in the process of updating all cardboard packaging to ensure recyclability. These small steps help to limit the amount of non-recycled material going out to the public.

Try Upcycling Cannabis Packaging

Feeling creative? Give upcycling your cannabis packaging. Upcycling is reusing non-recyclable (and recyclable) materials to give them new purpose. From jars to bags, tins to tubes, take a look at our 20 favorite ways to reuse cannabis packaging:

5 Ways to Upcycle Your Your Empty Flower Jars

Before reusing your flower jars, whether glass or plastic, ensure they are spotless. Nobody wants to discover remnants of old leaves unexpectedly. You can clean them in the dishwasher on the top rack or use dish soap and warm water.

  1. Transform Into a Planter for Small Plants: These jars are ideal for nurturing small plants. Ensure proper drainage by drilling holes at the bottom if you're handy with tools, or use smaller nursery pots trimmed to fit.
  2. Store Cooking Spices: Flower jars have the perfect seal to keep cooking spices fresh. They're also wide enough to dip a measuring spoon directly inside. Remember to label each jar!
  3. Pack Travel-sized Lotion: Reduce costs and fill these jars with your favorite lotion for on-the-go moisturization.
  4. Hold Your Salad Dressing: Use these jars to carry salad dressing in your lunchbox. Their secure lids make them ideal for this purpose.
  5. Carry Travel-sized Shampoo and Conditioner: An empty flower jar is the perfect container for your travel essentials like shampoo and conditioner, helping you maintain your grooming routine wherever you go.

5 Ways to Upcycle Your Cannabis Edibles Bags

Rather than tossing disposable bags after one or two uses, repurpose them using these durable mylar bags. Make sure they're cleaned thoroughly first.

  1. Travel Jewelry Organizer: Keep your jewelry tangle-free and organized while traveling.
  2. Cotton Ball Carrier: Perfect for keeping cotton essentials tidy in your travel bag.
  3. Office Supply Holder: Use them to store loose office supplies like paper clips or thumbtacks.
  4. Hardware Storage: Flat bags are great for storing loose nails and screws, saving space and preventing spills.
  5. Portable Toothbrush and Toothpaste Kit: Always be ready to freshen up by packing your dental hygiene essentials in an old mylar bag.

Five Ways to Upcycle Your Cannabis Pre-roll Tin

These tins are not just for pre-rolls; they're excellent for organizing and protecting small items, especially when traveling.

  1. Store Hand-rolled Joints: They’re perfect for keeping your rolled joints fresh and ready.
  2. Keep Cotton Swabs: Ideal for storing cotton swabs securely, whether for personal care or dabbing.
  3. Organize Hair Accessories: Easily store bobby pins and hair ties in one place.
  4. Safeguard Your Vape Charger: Never misplace your small but essential vape charger again.
  5. Protect Your Headphones: Keep your wired headphones tangle-free and readily accessible.

5 Ways to Upcycle Your Pre-Roll Tubes and Vape Packaging

Repurpose these tubes to ensure your small items are organized and protected.

  1. Store Joints or Vape Extras: Perfect for carrying extra joints, cartridges, or batteries.
  2. Dab Tool Storage: Keep your dabbing tools clean and contained.
  3. Cotton Swab Dispenser: Store a supply with your vaping gear to keep everything pristine.
  4. Tweezer Keeper: Never lose your tweezers again by storing them in a handy tube.
  5. Golf Pencil Holder: Keep extra golf pencils in your bag to be prepared for every game.

Join the Upcycling Community

If upcycling is your thing, we’d love to see your projects! Share them by tagging us on Instagram for a reshare to inspire others, and don’t forget to pick up any supplies you might need from your local MÜV Dispensary. Embrace your creativity and contribute to a greener planet by upcycling your used cannabis packaging.

*This post was originally published on September 25, 2021, and updated on April 11, 2024.

Content Manager for MÜV Florida and Contributor for Zen Leaf Dispensaries. A cannabis connoisseur with a passion for explaining the miraculous possibility of the plant, Swan began her journey with cannabis as a recreational user and quickly realized its positive impact on her depression and severe anxiety. She joined the cannabis industry as Receptionist and MedTender and witnessed first-hand the immense potential of the plant for a wide variety of ailments, deepening her passion for alternative medicine. Swan is dedicated to self-education on the plant and sharing its potential with all. She holds a Journalism degree from the University of Iowa.

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