Like any specialized business, cannabis companies face a host of unique challenges. From the very beginning of the regulated cannabis industry, product packaging has proven to be one of the most consistently evolving problems for cannabis brands. At first, compliance with state and local regulations overruled any and all other packaging considerations. Consumers were most interested in the novelty of legally purchasing cannabis, and they were not very concerned with presentation. As the industry matures and consumers become more sophisticated, expectations on packaging have evolved. Today, consumers are looking at package branding, design, sustainability and recyclability more closely. In addition, regulations and the industry’s move toward stronger corporate social responsibility is pushing packaging to evolve. 

The needs of cannabis packaging to maintain freshness and meet child resistance mandates limits the materials available for packaging. Plus, there are regulations in some states that make reducing packaging waste difficult, like laws requiring some cannabis products to be individually wrapped. But in today’s growing cannabis space, increasingly sophisticated consumers expect packaging to reflect the product’s brand, quality and cost. In other words, a “premium” product requires premium packaging. In addition, the more that cannabis markets expand into new U.S. states and internationally, the greater concern there is over cannabis packaging. The amount of discarded cannabis product packaging increases year after year. The growth of new markets and the evolution of the industry is creating greater awareness surrounding the carbon footprint of cannabis.

Here are some key elements you should consider when researching sustainable packaging:

  • What do state and local regulations require? Identify the packaging material that meets all regulatory requirements with the least waste possible.
  • Does it meet the product needs for quality and safety? Find the most sustainable packaging material, size and design that ensures quality and safety
  • Is it appealing to consumers? The best sustainable packaging should help sustain the brand as well. Look for materials that will help attract customers while limiting packaging layers to reduce waste and cost.
  • Can it be recycled through existing recycling infrastructure? Consumers want convenience. If packaging can be tossed into their regular recyclables bin, customers will buy. 

While not an exhaustive list, these factors are the top considerations when investigating sustainable packaging that meets regulatory compliance while ensuring quality and brand awareness. The team at Core Print & Packaging can review your packaging options with you, and help determine what packaging helps you best meet the needs of your brand, your product and your consumers.