What does the future of packaging look like?
The future of packaging is circular and regenerative! We need to transition away from using virgin petroleum-based materials and use biobased, reclaimed, and recycled materials. Not only that, but these materials need to be reused or recycled in closed-loop systems or have adequate end of lifecycle plans like anaerobic digestion or composting. Ultimately, we need to create a circular economic model for packaging and packaging materials.
What is a circular economy?
We need to transition away from a linear "take-make-dispose" economic model and create a circular economic model. A circular economy is restorative and regenerative by design. It is meant to build economic, natural, and social capital by adhering to three guiding principles: (1) design out waste and pollution, (2) keep products and materials in use, and (3) regenerate natural systems.
What does a circular economy for plastics look like?
According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the vision for a circular economy for plastic has six key points:
1. Elimination of problematic or unnecessary plastic packaging through redesign, innovation, and new delivery models is a priority.
2. Reuse models are applied where relevant, reducing the need for single-use packaging.
3. All plastic packaging is 100% reusable, recyclable, or compostable.
4. All plastic packaging is reused, recycled, or composted in practice.
5. The use of plastic is fully decoupled from the consumption of finite resources
6. All plastic packaging is free of hazardous chemicals, and the health, safety, and rights of all people involved are respected.
What does our supply chain look like?
Our commitment to sustainability goes beyond simply offering ecologically conscious products. We believe that packaging should be regenerative and help heal the environment throughout its lifecycle. In an increasingly global economy, localization is more important than ever and we’re proud to be a Made in the USA company committed to supporting domestic agriculture, manufacturing, and supply chains. The cannabis and industrial hemp industries have the potential to create positive economic, social, and environmental change for our local communities, our country, and our planet. We currently work with 5 domestic manufacturing partners and the vast majority of our material supply chains are North American.
Why plant-based hemp plastic?
Hemp is both rapidly renewable and regenerative, making it an ideal feedstock for bioplastics. Hemp grows faster than other industrial crops, it requires less water and zero pesticides, it presents a superior carbon sequestration potential as 1 metric ton of hemp sequesters 1.5 metric tons of carbon, and it remediates the soil so it’s an ideal rotational crop. The domestic hemp industry is growing by over 30% per year and has the potential to reinvigorate economically stifled agricultural communities across the United States.
What’s in our plant-based hemp plastic?
Our hemp plastic is 100% plant-based, a chemical free fiber-reinforced biocomposite. Our formulation is 30% micronized hemp hurd and 70% PLA. We also use bio-based binders so the material is truly 100% plant-based.
What’s the end of lifecycle plan for plant-based hemp plastic?
Plant-based is the direction we need to be moving in for single-use products, like packaging. Ultimately, all virgin materials used for packaging should be sustainably sourced from rapidly renewable and regenerative resources. However, the current waste management infrastructure in the United States is lacking and our industrial composting infrastructure is virtually nonexistent. Plant-based hemp plastic currently goes to landfill where it acts as a carbon trap, which is a silver lining. As more companies adopt hemp plastic and other plant-based materials, it will help create the demand for a more robust industrial composting infrastructure.
Why reclaimed ocean-bound plastic?
Each year, over 8 million metric tons of plastic enters our oceans. This makes plastic pollution an extremely abundant “stranded resource” and reclaimed ocean-bound plastic can replace almost any plastic product being made today. There is absolutely no reason to ever use a virgin petroleum resin for single-use products, like packaging. Our goal is to remove plastic from the environment and reintroduce it to the marketplace and proper waste stream.
What’s in our reclaimed ocean-bound plastic?
Our reclaimed ocean-bound plastic has been sorted so it’s either a pure PET (#1 recyclable), pure HDPE (#2 recyclable) or a pure PP (#5 recyclable), depending on the product. Our goal is to remove plastic from the environment and reintroduce it to the marketplace and proper waste stream. Almost any product currently made from virgin petroleum-based plastic can be made from reclaimed ocean-bound plastic. Along with creating a financial incentive to clean our environment, we want to help people understand how to better reuse existing resources to reduce pollution.
Who is Oceanworks?
We source our ocean-bound plastic in partnership with Oceanworks, a global marketplace for reclaimed ocean materials and products. One of the biggest value-adds that Oceanworks provides is the verification that we’re sourcing pure materials – i.e. it’s Oceanworks Guaranteed.
Who is Hemp Press?
We partner with Hemp Press to provide our customers with custom hemp paperboard packaging. Hemp Press is the first exclusively hemp paper print shop and packaging manufacturer in the United States.
What’s in Hemp Press’ hemp paperboard?
Depending on the product, Hemp Press’ hemp paperboard is either 25% hemp & 75% post-consumer recycled paper or 50% hemp & 50% post-consumer recycled paper.
Who is Tree Hugger Containers?
We partner with Tree Hugger Containers to provide our customers with recycled glass jars. Tree Hugger Containers provides complainant and premium packaging solutions that keep our planet in mind.
Does Sana Packaging use any other sustainable packaging materials?
Ultimately, Sana Packaging is material agnostic. We specialize in finding and creating commercially viable use cases for new and emerging materials in the sustainable packaging space. Our focus is on using biobased, reclaimed, and recycled materials in an effort to transition cannabis packaging away from a linear “take-make-dispose” economic model and towards a circular economic model.
Biobased and biodegradable
Biobased refers to a material that is "wholly or partially derived from biomass." Biobased materials are not necessarily biodegradable. For instance, traditional non-biodegradable plastics like PET, PP, and PE can be derived from biomass. Beware of petroleum-based plastics marketed as "oxo-degradable" or "biodegradable in landfills." These are traditional plastics treated with "biodegradability" additives. These additives break traditional plastics down into microplastics, which are more likely to be consumed by both wildlife and humans and are much harder to remove from our natural environment.
Biodegradable versus compostable
There is public confusion surrounding the terms “biodegradable” and “compostable.” Biodegradable refers to a material’s ability to “break down, safely and relatively quickly, by biological means, into the raw materials of nature.” Compostable refers to a material’s ability to biodegrade “in a composting environment in a relatively short time, capable of producing usable compost.”
When it comes to plastics, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation states that “biodegradable” is not a meaningful term because “it does not give any information about the length of time taken for the process to complete, or the conditions that are required.” For example, cars in a junkyard are technically biodegradable - it just takes hundreds if not thousands of years for them to fully degrade.
However, “compostable” plastics are also not a silver bullet for the plastic waste crisis and “should only be used for specific, targeted applications, coupled with collection and composting infrastructure.” And unfortunately, the industrial composting infrastructure in the United States is severely lacking at this point.
What are the challenges of packaging?
Waste recovery presents one of the largest challenges standing between where we are now and achieving a circular economy. Packaging waste is a large part of this problem, and Sana Packaging is thrilled to spearhead the movement to make the cannabis packaging industry more circular.
About 50% of the plastics society produces are used for disposable products, like packaging. These products typically become trash within a single year of production and can take 400+ years to degrade. Packaging also accounts for 30% of our municipal solid waste in the United States. For reference, durable goods and nondurable goods are the next largest categories, both at 20%. Furthermore, only 40% of packaging waste is recovered while 60% is landfilled.
Humans have created over 8.3 billion metric tons of plastic since society began mass-producing plastics in the 1950s. Of these 8.3 billion metric tons of plastic, 6.3 billion metric tons has become plastic waste. And of these 6.3 billion metric tons of plastic, only 9% has been recycled while 79% has ended up in landfills or our natural environment.
If we don’t address this problem, there will be over 12 billion metric tons of plastic polluting our landfills and natural environment by 2050.
What are the challenges of waste recovery?
Waste recovery is one of the largest challenges we have to face on our path towards a circular economy, and packaging is one of the largest challenges facing waste recovery. Recovery is a challenge for all packaging materials – whether they’re fossil-based or bio-based. Recovery includes recycling, composting, and other waste management strategies. We need to radically rethink and rebuild our waste management infrastructure in the United States because our recycling system is broken and our industrial composting system is virtually nonexistent.