While cannabis is an extremely versatile crop with many uses, dealing with waste from cultivation and processing activities can become a bit of a legal nightmare.
Many cultivators try composting as a way to handle the plant waste, but this is time intensive and requires a substantial amount of space that could be better utilised for cultivation. Some have to grind the waste up to a point it is unrecognisable and mix it with other non-consumable, solid wastes such as paper or plastic waste, then have it transported to landfill.
Solutions for dealing with cannabis waste will evolve into a lucrative industry.
One of the companies seeking to address the issue is Micron Waste Technologies Inc., which says it will further develop its proprietary digester technology to rapidly treat organic waste from medical cannabis cultivation.
“Whether professional growers are producing dried buds or collecting resin for extraction, the steps of harvesting and processing creates by-products and waste that must be disposed of according to all applicable regulations,” says Micron. “Growers must be aware of and comply with the comprehensive regulatory scheme enacted by governing bodies to ensure that environmental protections and safety are in place.”
Micron says it will develop an organic waste bioprocessing system focusing on medical cannabis organic waste materials including leaves, twigs and stalks. The company says it is currently testing a new type of nanocrystal expected to break down medical cannabis organic waste so that it can be turned into “gray water” and then subsequently into clean water for reuse.
Micron says its solution will deal with any plant waste or extract that is not being used for whatever reason and liquids or water that could contaminate ground water through any pesticides or other substances that may be present.
Other solutions to the cannabis waste problem currently in use include incineration. One company, Inciner8, says its device enables the energy from its process to be converted into hot air for heating greenhouses or hot water for cleaning and washing equipment.
Another company, Gaica, provides a waste collection service, then mixes the waste with other organic material and composts it, with the final product utilized as usable topsoil for landscaping, or donated for research purposes.