Los Angeles based packaging company ReStalk has completed its first production run of a closed-loop packaging solution made from cannabis waste. The company aims to use the new product to divert organic waste from landfills while helping customers transition away from using plastics. The product stems from over two years of research and development into environmentally-conscious pulp and packaging.

ReStalk co-founder Lucas Hildebrand told Packaging Gateway: “My partners and I saw a giant need for the way in which the burgeoning cannabis space was dealing with its downstream waste. There was no foresight to how large the industry would become and with no tangible recycling plans being carved out by municipalities so we took it upon ourselves to do more than watch it be burned, rot, or take up space in a landfill.

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“This product is sourced from recycled cannabis, which is not grown for its virgin fibre. From a circular perspective, using a recycled cannabis product closes the loop utilising the entire plant’s properties throughout its life cycle, not simply taking features of the plant towards the end of its life – as it’s grown for its flower – which is not only wasteful but costs the farm money to dispose of.”

The closed-loop box was created in collaboration with Everett Graphics subsidiary Sun Grown Packaging, which provides ReStalk with printing and die-cutting needs.

Everett Graphics president Witt Everett said: “ReStalk’s products are a great solution for customers passionate about sustainability. It holds ink well and is a wonderful solution for our clients seeking differentiation with sustainable, American-sourced card stock. ReStalk’s board completes the cannabis plant’s full circle of uses.”

Hildebrand said: “To have a commercially-viable product, sourced and manufactured domestically is a huge milestone. If raw materials need to travel over vast distances to be converted, the transportation footprint can begin to outweigh the footprint of the recycled or upcycled material itself. We do everything we can to limit the distance from feedstock to processing locations and rely on regional systems to support every facet of our procurement and production.

“Additionally, the infrastructure to process cannabis is relatively new to the US. Typically, the feedstock and refined fibres are purchased and manufactured in Asia or Europe. We are excited to support both the source of the raw material and the systems which process it here in the States.”

ReStalk will donate revenues from its packaging products to non-profits as part of the company’s membership of global environmental network 1% for the Planet. 1% for the Planet connects members of its network with non-profit partners dedicated to helping the natural world.