Weed and Waste: What To Do With Your Empty Containers

Published on May 17, 2016, By Magalie Noebes

Marijuana News

The other day my boyfriend came home, dropped 8 single gram containers on our coffee table, and said, “They were out of the bigger jars, so now we have all of these.” Upon inspection, we realized the gram servings in each one of those little jars could easily fit in just two of them. But with dispensaries under regulation to put certain amounts in air-sealed containers of specific sizes, there’s obviously not much dispensaries can do in that regard. While looking at these six empty jars, I shuddered at the thought of adding to our already extensive weed-container collection.

In a span of three months we have accumulated 15 empty squeeze-top containers and pill bottles, 10 flower jars, and 8 wax jars – and they were all just sitting in a bin, useless. We don’t want to just throw them away, as we don’t want them ending up in some landfill. The unsettling number of essentially useless containers stared back at me and I realized that I needed to explore this phenomenon. It turns out that I’m not the only one who’s concerned about waste.

Legalization has brought on hundreds of innovative and creative ways to smoke, enjoy, preserve, and grow marijuana. As demand grows for our cannabis products, you have to consider – what impact does all this consumption have on our environment? Can we apply this same innovation for distributing marijuana products into reducing businesses’ and customer’s carbon footprint?

After some crafty brainstorming and Internet searching, I’ve come up with a few creative and sensible solutions for all those empty containers.

Use Hemp Plastic

This image has been floating around Imgur for a while, and utilizing hemp plastic would be an amazing solution for all of those empty re-purposed film containers a lot of dispensaries use.  Hemp plastic is a bio-plastic made from industrial hemp. There are several different kinds: some are made entirely on hemp, whereas others feature a combination of standard plastic and hemp fibers. The bottom line is that hemp plastic can be made to be recyclable and 100% biodegradable.

While developers are currently working on things like water bottles and CD cases, making hemp plastic jars and bottles like those we’re already using doesn’t seem outside of the realm of possibility.  Kickstarter anyone?

Recycle Them

You can recycle your weed containers. If you look on the underside of the container, you’ll find the recycling number that indicates which recycling centers will accept which bottles. However, some centers don’t accept marijuana containers unless they are thoroughly cleansed with removed labels before sending them in.  If you have a bunch, the easiest way to remove those labels (with little to no residue) is to drop them in boiling water for a minute or two before peeling off the labels.

A few dispensaries – like Altitude and Green Solution in Colorado – used to offer recycling services, collecting empty containers that customers could drop off. Unfortunately, too many containers were coming in and it became unfeasible for these dispensaries to continue with the service.

Green Solution, however, does have a recycling deal with their bags: if you bring back a bag, you receive $0.50 off your purchase and you can bring back up to four bags at a time. Similarly, the Metropolitan Wellness Center in Washington D.C. has a recycling program where you can reuse bottles instead of getting new ones, taking $0.10 off your purchase for each bottle re-used.

So it wouldn’t hurt to ask your favorite dispensary if they have any policy or means of recycling bottles or materials.

Travel Holder

On the go with your buds? We all know how terrible an old one-hitter can smell, especially after some use during festival season.

I would grab an old cannabis container, throw in my one-hitter and spare baby nug, and toss it in my purse. No bad odors, and no worry about resin and junk getting all over the place.

Donate Them to a Good Cause

There are a couple programs that collect pill bottles (including childproof and squeeze-top containers) and donate them to countries in need of medical supplies.

It’s an awesome cause, but you need to find the right project to send your containers to. The Malawi Project used to be the biggest go-to for pill bottle donations, though they are no longer accepting any due to a recent influx of donations – they currently have over 2 ½ million containers.

Matthew 25 Ministries has a very similar program, and they even take pill bottles that aren’t suitable for medical supplies; they simply recycle them for you and use the profits to fund their charity programs.

There is also Rhythm RX, a charity that turns empty pill containers – or in this case weed containers (cleaned, of course) – and turns them into rhythm instruments to heal and calm children and adults facing adversity.

Home Organization

Feeling cluttered? Repurpose your empty containers to organize your place. Paint and decorate them to match your décor and make them your own. Depending on the size and shape of your empties you can use them for multiple storage needs! Here are a few suggestions:

  • Hold all your lighters (you know, so you can gradually lose them all again).
  • Holding all of your dab tools.
  • Use those tall edible containers for tidy makeup brush storage (or any grooming tools, tooth brushes, razors, etc.).
  • Store herbs and dry teas in your sealable containers to keep them fresh and out of the way.
  • Those glass containers for wax? I put coconut oil in them and use it for on the go chap stick, eye makeup remover, or just general moisturizer.
  • Make a bobby pin holder. Ladies… we all know the struggle.

Pretty handy right? There are tons of ideas on how to repurpose plastic pill containers – just search online or have a look at Pinterest – which can easily be adapted to your cannabis containers.

If you’ve never thought about the impact all of these plastic containers on the environment, I hope this helps open your eyes and you take some of these suggestions instead of just tossing out your plastic! If you are like me and have some creative solutions and ideas of your own, please share them with us!



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