Because of the different legal statuses of cannabis throughout the United States, the elimination of cannabis waste can be one of the most variable processes in waste disposal. Thus, a waste management plan for cannabis industry products is necessary.
What Is Cannabis Waste?
The definition of cannabis waste may vary from state to state, but it is generally accepted that cannabis waste is “any material used or [that] come[s] in contact with cannabis during the cultivation, production, manufacturing, or retail process that must be disposed of” (EcoWaste). Some examples of cannabis waste include unused buds, expired edibles, plant trimmings, and empty cannabis packaging.
Cannabis Disposal and Regulations
There is a different licensing body in each state that cannabis is legal in some form, and many states have several regulating bodies that all have different requirements for cannabis disposal. For example, the state of California has three regulating bodies: the Bureau of Cannabis Control, the CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing department, and the Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch of the California Department of Public Health. Every one of these has slightly different requirements, and all must be abided by to stay compliant.
Cannabis waste can be either hazardous or non-hazardous; this delineation is determined by each individual state. If it is non-hazardous, there are some states that require that the cannabis waste be made unusable before it is disposed of. This is done by mixing the marijuana waste with other non-hazardous waste, like food or yard scraps, until the mixture reaches a certain percentage of cannabis by weight. Other states treat cannabis waste as medical or hazardous waste. If it is determined to fall into one of these categories instead, it should be disposed of according to the state’s regulations on those types of wastes.
Some growers do attempt to use leftover cannabis materials to create other saleable products, but the sheer volume of materials is often more than can be reasonably used. Thus, hefty quantities of cannabis waste are sent to landfills or composting centers.
If you operate a business that generates cannabis waste and you would like assistance in managing it in a regulation-compliant way, contact Clean Management today.