Protecting The Plant & Planet: Building A More Sustainable Cannabis Industry

By Kaila Strong, Director of Retail Marketing (Western Region), Curaleaf

The cannabis industry is no stranger to waste. A report from the Sustainable Cannabis Coalition found that the U.S. industry used almost one billion pieces of single-use plastic in a span of 12 months. Making matters worse, only 9% of the cannabis industry’s single-use plastic is recycled. 

By 2050, it’s estimated that worldwide municipal waste generation is will rise to three billion metric tons. At current rates, less than 20% of that waste would be recycled, leading to further deterioration of our ecosystem. If we intend to preserve the resources that the planet provides, the cannabis industry must play an integral role in global recycling efforts.

In April 2022, Curaleaf partnered with Resinate, a recycling and remanufacturing company based in Phoenix, to launch a statewide program dedicated to reducing cannabis packaging waste. As part of the long-term partnership, all 16 Curaleaf dispensaries in Arizona were outfitted with collection barrels where customers are able to drop off their cannabis packaging for recycling. Each month, Resinate collects the packaging and recycles it, using a portion of the material to create and sell plastic rolling trays. Additionally, Curaleaf has hosted several educational pop-ups and recycling drives, gifting attendees our signature pre-rolls for their participation.

Through the first four months of 2023, Curaleaf’s partnership with Resinate in Arizona has seen immense success, having recycled more than 1,400 pounds of packaging. During this same period, nearly 1,000 participants signed up for rewards and it’s estimated that over 1,000 people have participated in the program at Curaleaf since it began. 

As one of the largest global cannabis companies, we recognize both the responsibility and the privilege to lead by example. Resinate is just one partner within our Rooted In Good corporate social responsibility platform which is committed to demonstrating that big cannabis can be good cannabis, and good cannabis can be good business – one program, one partner and one neighborhood at a time.