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Designing Sustainable Packaging Made From Hemp Paper & Plastic

Posted in Journalism, Ministry of Hemp, and Video

Hemp packaging could be a solution to the problem of disposable, single-use paper and plastic.

“The statistics are in: every second … a half acre of trees are cut down,” said Matthew Glyer of Hemp.Press. “7.5 bllion trees for paper alone is not sustainable.”

Every industry is struggling with the growing problem of waste. The legal cannabis industry is no exception. Both medical and recreational dispensaries depend on plastic and foil containers which are used once, then thrown away. For the most part, these materials are not biodegradable. Single-use paper packaging is also commonplace in the industry.

While hemp plastic is still being perfected, companies like Sana Packaging are already creating composites from hemp and corn. Sana Packaging’s products are created using hemp hurd, the fibrous woody core of agricultural hemp, then combined with corn to create composite bioplastic.

Working with domestically-sourced materials also ensures the sustainability of their products.

Hemp paper and plastic can be an important part of reducing the waste created by single-use packaging.
Sana Packaging creates composite bioplastic packaging from corn and hemp. Seen here is a set of Sana Packaging plastic boxes and some “doob tubes” filled with cannabis buds and pre-rolled joints. Hemp paper and plastic can be an important part of reducing the waste created by single-use packaging. (Sana Packaging)

“Our hemp is sourced here domestically in Kentucky, processed in North Dakota and we manufacture in Minnesota and Arizona,” said Ron Basak-Smith of Sana Packaging. “All American made, all American supply chain.”

Hemp.Press also targets the cannabis industry with products that replace boxes or display cards made from trees with hemp paper.

The companies are also involved in lobbying to change cannabis laws. Currently, most states with legal medical or recreational marijuana programs prohibit the re-use of packaging at cannabis dispensaries. If those laws changed, consumers would be able to bring their hemp packaging back to the dispensary to be refilled with fresh flower, extract, or pre-rolled cannabis joints.

This video is another piece I helped create for Ministry of Hemp based on my visit to the NoCo Hemp Expo. I’m obviously a big supporter of legal cannabis, but the waste in the industry is one of my least favorite things about it. Efforts like these seem like they could make a big difference.