Smoking marijuana on the individual level doesn't have a large environmental impact, but as legalization increases and more dispensaries open, there will be more waste. Like most businesses, dispensaries use a lot of single-use items, bags, containers, jars, etc... ! We're going to dive into the many ways you can avoid tossing out containers that have so much life left to give!
I want to preface this article by saying that these tips are well-intentioned suggestions on how you can contribute, and are not meant to guilt anyone into feeling bad for throwing something in the trash. At the end of the day, large businesses and corporations are the ones that need to be held responsible for the waste they create. We can only do so much as individuals, but it never hurts to keep these types of things in mind if you are a frequent user of marijuana!
Save your containers
When you buy marijuana, it will usually come in a little plastic or glass container. A fantastic thing you could be doing is saving those! They can have a multitude of different uses; I use mine to save quarters for when I vacuum my car! You could also clean them out and use them to store bulk spices, plant succulent starters in, or put jewelry in them for when you travel. The glass ones can be used as a small candle holder, or somewhere to put loose thumbtacks, paper clips, and a lot more small household items! These are just a few examples, you can get super creative with them! Even just keeping them around in a bag for a little bit until an idea sparks at least will give these empty containers a chance at a new purpose!
Use a glass piece!
There are many devices used for smoking. You've got hand pipes, bongs, dab rigs, joints, vaporizers, hookahs, and the list goes on! An environmentally conscious thing to do is purchase a good quality item that you know will last and take good care of it! Sturdy, well-made glass bongs are a fantastic option. If you only smoke pre-rolls or use rolling papers a lot, the packaging adds up so much over time. Don't get me wrong, joints are a great way to experience cannabis, but consider something that lasts for your daily toke! Not only will this save you money over time but its an eco-friendly choice.
Cleaning your bong
Anyone with a bong or rig knows that cleaning your piece can be a weekly thing, sometimes it builds up and you have to douse your bong is ISO & salt or the cleaner that you have. Draining ISO down your sink has a large impact over time. Isopropyl alcohol is toxic to aquatic life and any form of healthy bacteria or algae. Trying to lower the number of times you use ISO is generally a really good idea. Something we suggest is rinsing out your bong with some hot water after each use. It will keep it much cleaner, for much longer. This way you won't have to use such extensive cleaning methods whenever you clean your bong! You can also re-use iso and salt a few times over depending on how dirty it gets after use.
Recycle your batteries
There are many forms of smoking nowadays and using a rechargeable dab or vape pen is one of them! These batteries should not be thrown away. In fact, it's illegal in every state except California to dispose of them in the trash. The only place they can be properly recycled is at a Household Hazardous waste facility, or a battery + bulbs store! It's not realistic to ask someone to drive to said place whenever their battery craps out, it's recommended to store it somewhere dark and at room temperature until you are able to make it to one of those disposal facilities! They don't take up much space in your house and consider putting them somewhere that you'll be able to remember to take them with you!
If this is something that is available to you, buying locally-grown cannabis is a great option to ensure you aren't buying weed that was grown using chemicals. If not, when you go to the dispensary try to keep an eye out for organically grown weed! Here is a great article to help identify the weed that may contain PGR (plant growth regulators) Click here This is not only great for your own personal health but it's nice to know you aren't supporting the businesses that use said chemicals in their weed. It may be a little more difficult to search for this type of cannabis lacking in PGR, but it doesn't hurt to keep an eye out!
Leave no mess behind
Essentially, just don't litter and you're good. Flicking your roach out the window after smoking a joint, or leaving them at parks can just end up contributing to the mess people leave behind every day! It seems like such a small thing, but it's those tiny, seemingly insignificant things that will eventually add up over time. People do this enough with cigarettes, let's not contribute. This is another great example of what you can use your old container for! Keep one in your car, or on your person. This way, the next time you finish a joint you have somewhere to put it!
How sustainable is the cannabis industry?
We as a planet are pretty bad at consistently implementing ways to avoid mass waste. Corporations however are the single largest factor in why we have had a very hard time catching up. Over the years as weed has become legalized in a lot of different states and just more popularized in general, therefore companies that manufacture herb grow larger and larger. In turn, their carbon footprint gets pretty big as well. The main factor here is the growth process. It takes a lot of light, energy, and water to grow cannabis in such huge quantities. The energy use that is required to maintain a controlled environment for growing is taking a toll on the environment. The best thing we can all do is stay informed! It's easier for large cannabis producers and manufacturers to get away with this level of waste considering that the product they are selling is medicinal, and helps millions of people. Research where your local weed comes from, and look into the dispensaries you frequent to make sure they are treating workers fairly.
These easy things that can be implemented in your day-to-day smoking habits can make a huge difference. Thanks friends, and happy smoking!