Recycling Cannabis Packaging

Health Canada regulations require packaging that often seems excessive. They have their reasons for this, which include making the product difficult for minors to access and maintaining quality and freshness. 

From the OCS:

The Federal Cannabis Act specifies that cannabis must be packaged in containers that are:
  • Opaque or semi-transparent
  • Tamper-evident and child-resistant
  • Designed to prevent contamination and keep cannabis dry

"These specific requirements make it difficult to use biodegradable materials that can fulfill all the necessary criteria."

The result of this regulation is that responsible cannabis consumers are left with large amounts of plastic and other materials that should be recycled to prevent waste from ending up in a landfill or ocean. 

All plastic packaging materials sold in Canada are required to display the logo of "chasing arrows" corresponding to the type of plastic involved. These logos contain a number that corresponds to the type of plastic:

  • 1) Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET or PETE)
  • 2) High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE)
  • 3) Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC or Vinyl)
  • 4) Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE)
  • 5) Polypropylene (PP)
  • 6) Polystyrene (PS or Styrofoam)
  • 7) Other.

Post-consumer plastic packaging types 1-7 are often accepted by municipal recycling programs however #6 is often limited. Please contact your municipality to verify the availability of recycling facilities.

If you're from the City of Ottawa you may read more here: