How the cannabis industry is staying sustainable


Collegian | Tri Duong

Cannabis plants with an advanced water sprinkler that operates at set interval times at the Organic Alternative growth facility Feb. 3. Each row of plants are easily movable to allow walking space like a library bookshelf system.

Taylor Paumen, Content Managing Editor

As cannabis acceptance and consumption grow with the industry, finding sustainable ways to keep up with the demand is something companies and individual consumers can do quickly before the industry gets too out of hand.

A big issue that harms the harvesting of cannabis and hemp is pesticides that not only hurt the plant but the soil and water, too. But businesses like Cedar Meadow Farm have worked to make environmentally friendly soil that allows “the roots (to) create healthy soil that’s resistant to run-off during rain,” which has been in progress for over 30 years, according the farm’s website


Hemp, which is similar to other varieties of cannabis but has effects at a much smaller level, is a side of the industry that’s found many ways to be sustainable. Companies are using the plant to make rope, eco-friendly food products and apparel.

8000Kicks sells shoes and backpacks with industrial hemp, which has been used since 8000 B.C.E. Their products benefit from strong hemp fibers and have “the world’s first hemp insoles” that are complemented by algal bloom-based soles, according to their website.

While 8000Kicks is using ancient ways to create modern, 100% vegan and waterproof shoes, they’re helping to increase the standards of the industry. 

Another company supporting a healthy and sustainable lifestyle is Earthmost Foods, which makes eco-friendly, hemp-based food products. Things like burger meat, granola, cooking oil and many other ingredient-type goods can be found on their website.

“Another great way to help eliminate trash is by purchasing glassware like pipes and bongs, as those will last forever if you take care of them and are more visually appealing on your coffee table than trash is.”

Although there are companies being mindful of environmentally efficient ways to produce a successful product, there are faulty areas of cannabis and hemp consumption that have made an impact.

Most products that contain cannabis or hemp contents are in single-use packaging that is usually bulky and intricate due to child safety regulations, and with Coloradans spending $129,370,166 so far in 2023 on cannabis sales, the amount of waste from just packaging can build up.

Disposable pens are a big culprit in adding to waste, and while there isn’t much research on how to recycle them, there are other ways to be more friendly to our environment with other cannabis products.

The Denver Department of Public Health & Environment shows you can recycle multiple types of packaging, like pre-roll tubes, aluminum materials, uncoated paper boxes and glass bottles. The many zip-close-type bags can be reused, and everything else will have to go into the trash.

Another great way to help eliminate trash is by purchasing glassware like pipes and bongs, as those will last forever if you take care of them and are more visually appealing on your coffee table than trash is.

Although the immense waste of these practices is not a loner in the world of consumption and the individual cannabis consumer has the skills to help do their part, companies and large organizations also have ways to support sustainability.

This can look like changing packaging to be recyclable, using regenerative farming to benefit soil health, growing plants outside to use free energy from the sun and using other alternative energy sources.

While the legalization of weed is slowly spreading across the nation, take note of some of these role models of the industry, and take a moment to do your part and reduce, reuse, recycle and get high.

Reach Taylor Paumen at or on Twitter @TayTayPau.