Business

Recycling program aims to convert canna-waste into fuel

By Willis Jacobson
Image by anncapictures from Pixabay

One of California’s largest dispensaries has helped launch a first-of-its-kind recycling program in which cannabis packaging will be converted into fuel to help power delivery vehicles.

Airfield Supply Co., a San Jose storefront that bills itself as the largest single-site dispensary in the state, is the first dispensary to sign on for the pilot program that could prevent as many as 5,000 plastic items from entering the state’s waste stream each day. CannaCraft, a Sonoma County manufacturer, and Resynergi, Sonoma County company that converts plastics into oils, are partners in the program.

Marc Matulich, CEO of Airfield Supply Co., said his company is excited to join the effort. The firm plans to place Resynergi recycling bins throughout its facilities and to also provide customers with special “exit bags” they can use to store their plastics ahead of recycling.

“Knowing that we are providing this safety net to stop plastic trash before it goes into the environment helps us sleep more soundly at night,” he said.

Too much plastic

Matulich estimates that Airfield Supply Co. draws about 1,300 customers a day. If those customers recycled all their single-use plastics, that could stop 4,000 to 5,000 items from reaching landfills or the ocean each day, he said.

  • Child resistant packaging is mandatory for California cannabis businesses, but it also produces a massive amount of waste, including an estimated 2M single-joint tubes, each year.
  • Since plastic became ubiquitous in manufacturing some 60 years ago, humans have produced 6.3B tons of it, according to analysts. It’s estimated that just 9% has ever been recycled.

Powering up

Resynergi uses a proprietary chemical process to break plastics down at a molecular level before recapturing their energy, according to the company.

  • Resynergi recaptures energy from up to five tons of plastics each day.
  • Each ton of plastic waste can produce some 200 gallons of diesel oil, according to the company.
  • The fuel converted by the program will be used to power CannaCraft’s Kind House Distribution fleet of delivery vehicles, the companies said.
  • Ned Fussell, co-founder of CannaCraft, said he was hopeful the program would inspire other dispensaries to do the same. “This is absolutely an ‘all hands’ situation,” he said.
  • Brian Bauer, CEO of Resynergi, called the program a “solid win-win” for the industry and for the Earth.

Cannabis operators and regulators are well-positioned to take a lead in environmental sustainability, according to a November 2020 report from the National Cannabis Industry Association.

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