From Back to the Land to Burying the Land

From Back to the Land to Burying the Land
HIghtimes main

The cannabis industry produces tons of waste. From vaporizer cartridges to legally-mandated layers of cannabis packaging, the movement that grew alongside back-to-the-land environmentalists is now buried under a mountain of waste. According to longtime cannabis activist Chris Conrad, no one talked about waste early on, though they did talk about using minimal packaging made from hemp. “Back then the movement was interconnected with the environmental movement and we never expected waste to be an issue,” he said. He pointed to vaping cartridges as the game changer, adding that “disposables are even worse.” Compliant Waste Disposal is Critical California has two main cannabis waste processors, GAIACA Waste Revitalization (GAIACA) and Cannabis Waste Solutions (CWS). Andrew McGinty, CEO of CWS has over 15 years of experience in hazardous waste management, and knew this new industry could use his experience. He founded CWS in late 2018 and began attending cannabis events and hearings in Sacramento. GAIACA was co-founded by CEO Jonathan Lee in 2016 to do two things, “manage cannabis waste in the most compliant manner, and ensure the environment is protected.” McGinty says Washington operators have sent nearly 2 million pounds of plant waste to landfills since commercial sales of adult-use cannabis began in 2014. The largest volume of waste for both CWS and GAIACA is biomass from cultivation and trimming, which CWS converts into energy to power their operation and GAIACA composts. Other major categories of waste, in order of most to least, are: Rockwool/grow media, soil, packaging waste, debris contaminated with cannabis, and the smallest category is hazardous waste like spent solvents and batteries. CWS has a method to recycle rockwool, which is “a big hurdle.” Coco coir and soil are compostable, and other wastes are rendered and sent to the landfill or hazardous waste facilities for specialized disposal. “What…

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Source : From Back to the Land to Burying the Land

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