New World Packaging

How to Choose the Best Compostable Cannabis Packaging for Your Products

The cannabis industry has a garbage problem. The good news is there are compostable packaging options for cannabis products that meet all regulations, tick all the boxes for freshness and user-friendliness, and don’t cost a fortune!

The cannabis industry has a garbage problem. With so many single-use products, cannabis is getting a bad reputation among environmentalists – and for good reason. Regulations require tamper-resistant and childproof packaging. At the same time, producers need to use packaging that keeps their products fresh. Combine those needs with products that people use once and then throw the packaging away, and you’ve got a recipe for negative environmental impact.

The good news is there are compostable packaging options for cannabis products that meet all regulations, tick all the boxes for freshness and user-friendliness, and don’t cost a fortune! Let’s take a look at some of the options available and the benefits of compostable packaging, so you can choose the best packaging for your cannabis products.

Popular Compostable Cannabis Packaging Options

Compostable packaging is made from materials that can be broken down by natural processes, rather than sitting in landfills for years or even decades. 

1. PLA and PHA Bioplastics 

Bioplastics are made from renewable sources and can be compostable and/or biodegradable. PLA (polylactic acid or polylactide) and PHA (polyhydroxyalkanoate) are both biodegradable and compostable.

PLA is made from renewable sources, such as corn starch, sugar cane, cassava, tapioca root, or sugar beet pulp. It’s produced by a polymerization process in which the renewable resources are broken down into lactic acid. The lactic acid is polymerized into PLA, which can be used as a plastic packaging substitute produced in many colors and finishes. 

PHA is a natural material in nature. It’s produced by certain bacteria during fermentation of sugars and lipids, which results in the natural polymer PHA. For packaging materials, this process is mimicked in industrial manufacturing. 

Both PLA and PHA are excellent choices for compostable cannabis packaging. At New World Packaging, we use PHA for tubes and containers and PLA for flexible packaging, such as pouches. Contact us for free samples.

2. Hemp-Based Materials

Hemp is durable and strong, and hemp-based packaging is compostable and biodegradable. Together, these features provide a perfect combination for many packaging materials, including paper, textiles, bioplastics, and more.

As hemp becomes more available in the United States, cannabis brands will be able to use it in packaging applications like boxes, folding cartons, bands, tags, inserts, ribbons, cords, bags, and more. 

It’s especially exciting to consider how hemp paper could be used in packaging in the future. Hemp paper is highly customizable and can be used in offset printing, inkjet printing, full color printing, stamping, embossing, debossing, and more.

3. Mushroom-Based Materials

A newer innovation in compostable packaging is the use of mushroom-based materials that come from mycelium, the root-like structure of mushrooms. Mycelium grows around clean agriculture waste (e.g., corn stalks, corn husks, hemp hurds) and binds the waste together to form a solid shape. The material can be used to form strong, lightweight packaging that is compostable, biodegradable, and sustainable.

Mushroom-based materials are an excellent substitute for plastic and Styrofoam. They can also be molded into different shapes, which could make them a great choice for brands that want to create unique packaging for their cannabis products. 

Benefits of Using Compostable Cannabis Packaging

Compostable packaging offers a number of benefits when compared to traditional plastic packaging. Some of these benefits include:

Reduction in Environmental Impact

Since compostable packaging is made from renewable resources and can be broken down by natural processes, it has a significantly lower impact on the environment than traditional plastic packaging, which can take hundreds of years to break down and may release harmful chemicals at it decomposes.

Meet Consumer Demand and Preferences

The environment has been a hot topic for years, and many consumers are actively looking for eco-friendly brands that sell products in environmentally-friendly packaging. Compostable packaging can meet this growing demand and help your brand gain market share among a growing target audience.

Comply with Regulations

Regulators, including cannabis regulators, have been passing laws aimed to reduce the environmental impact of businesses. Using compostable packaging can help your business comply with these regulations and demonstrate its commitment to sustainability and the environment.

Improved Brand Reputation

Winning brands are innovative and look for ways to establish a positive brand reputation among consumers. Investing in new, environmentally-friendly packaging is a great way to do it. This investment shows consumers, investors, and wider audiences that your company prioritizes the environment and is actively investing in reducing its environmental impact. It’s an excellent differentiator for brand growth. 

Challenges of Using Compostable Cannabis Packaging

The benefits of using compostable packaging are many, but there are some potential challenges that you should be aware of before you make a final choice for your products. Here are some of the most common challenges:

Higher Price

While the cost of compostable packaging is typically higher, these materials are quickly becoming more popular among consumers who want to buy more environmentally-friendly products. In addition, as more materials are introduced and become more readily-available, prices are dropping.

Lack of Industrial Composting Facilities

It’s true that most states still lack the industrial composting facilities needed to properly dispose of compostable packaging, but this will change in the future. Brands that are already using compostable packaging will have a significant advantage in terms of consumer perception, trust, and sales when the time comes. 

Usage Concerns

Compostable packaging may not be effective in all applications where plastic or other materials have been used traditionally. It’s critical that you work with a packaging provider, like New World Packaging, who can help you choose the right packaging materials to keep your product fresh and deliver a positive customer experience.

Lack of Consumer Education about Composting

Most consumers aren’t aware of the proper steps to dispose of compostable packaging. If they don’t dispose of compostable packaging properly, it may not decompose fully, which could undo your efforts to protect the environment and reduce your company’s environmental footprint.

Key Takeaways about Compostable Cannabis Packaging for Your Products

Compostable cannabis packaging is an excellent choice for your products. Not only is it something many consumers want, but it’s also a great way to differentiate your brand from competitors while doing something positive for the environment and the future of the planet.

Ready to see compostable packaging options for your cannabis products? Contact us and we’ll help you find the right solution for your brand.

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