Green Cannabis Packaging: Biodegradable Types and Differences
In the spirit of our continued commitment to providing top-shelf child-resistant, eco-friendly sustainable cannabis product packaging materials, HiSierra has added biodegradable commercial cannabis packaging to our product line. Take a quick moment to learn more about this incredible addition to our packaging options and what it means for the cannabis industry as well as the environment.
The trend toward sustainable packaging is not new. Last year, Trivium Packaging released its 2022 Global Buying Green Report, which was based on a survey of more than 15,000 consumers across Europe, North America and South America. The report found:
- 86% of consumers aged 45 and under showed a willingness to pay more for sustainable packaging.
- 68% of consumers had chosen a product in the last six months based on its sustainability credentials.
- 57% of consumers are “less likely” to buy products in harmful packaging.
Benefits of Biodegradable Packaging Material
For cannabis consumers, sustainability has been found to be an especially important factor in purchasing decisions. This can manifest as attention to responsible growing practices, eco-efficient production and green packaging. In a nationwide survey conducted by Canivate Growing Systems, 79% of U.S. cannabis buyers indicated support for establishing better environmental standards.
Biodegradable packaging benefits are many. Some examples are:
- A decrease in the waste sent to landfills, where it could sit for many years or head to incinerators, which release harmful chemicals into the environment.
- Biodegradation (when organic material degrades through the action of microorganisms over a period of time) is a more natural process than degradation (when material is broken down into smaller pieces by the elements, but never completely disappears). Straight degradable items also have a shorter shelf life compared to biodegradable products.
- When breaking down, biodegradable packaging emits a smaller number of harmful substances than traditional materials emit.
- Less energy is needed to manufacture biodegradable products, which means fewer fossil fuels are used and fewer greenhouse gas emissions are produced. In short, biodegradable packaging material offers a lessened carbon footprint.
- On the retail end, advertising and utilizing biodegradable packaging is a compelling way to connect with consumers who have environmental priorities while highlighting an overall commitment to green progress.
Testing Methods of Biodegradable Packaging
Biodegradable testing is a time-consuming process designed to mimic real life conditions. ASTM International, formerly known as American Society for Testing and Materials, is an international standards organization that develops and publishes voluntary consensus technical standards.
ASTM D5511 is a test to determine the anaerobic biodegradation of plastic materials specifically under high-solids anaerobic-digestion conditions. This test determines if the packaging biodegrades in bioreactor landfills or landfills which recirculate leachate (the fluid filtering through the landfills). In the USA, one third of the current active landfills fall in these two categories. A connected test is the ASTM D5526, which determines biodegradation in the other types of active landfills within the United States.
Types of Biodegradable Packaging
There are many types of biodegradable packaging. These include:
- Cellulose-based (often used for molding materials)
- Bio-derived polyethylene
- Aliphatic polyesters (generally used in healthcare technologies)
The most visible types of biodegradable packaging today are paper and cardboard, such as shopping bags and cup sleeves. While easily recycled, these items are not ideal for long-term storage and are susceptible to the elements. Compostable plastics can be as strong as traditional plastics and break down much faster, while biodegradable bags are more durable. Both these options can cost a bit more than standard plastic, but as they’re utilized more, their cost is expected to go down.
Wondering who is using biodegradable packaging in the cannabis industry? You may be surprised. Many family-owned and smaller organizations, both growers and processors, are using sustainable packaging. This is often because of their true investment in the community, consideration of USA-made versus imported products and a concern for better eco-friendly biodegradable commercial cannabis packaging options.
Another reason professionals purchase biodegradable commercial cannabis packaging is state-mandated sustainable packaging. In the state of New York, a retail packaging sustainability program requires licensees to submit an environmental sustainability product packaging plan. The law’s wording allows “sustainable packaging strategies which use non-plastic, compostable or recyclable materials, or packaging materials exceeding 25% post-consumer recycled content.”
Whatever the reason, look no further for green cannabis packaging! HiSierra biodegradable bags are thoroughly tested and ASTM D5526 certified, meaning the bags degrade well in a simulated landfill environment. This biodegradable packaging material is also ASTM D5511 certified, which means these exit bags are verified to be biodegradable in a high solid environment mostly without oxygen. Made in America, this new product is a perfect fit into their listing of cannabis packaging solutions best for the environment and the economy. As a bonus, clients of HiSierra receive more personal attention and better customer service!