Sustainable Cannabis Packaging: How It’s Made and Why It Matters
Sponsored by Sun Grown Packaging
This article is sponsored by Sun Grown Packaging. Sun Grown Packaging’s 3e CRP is the first recyclable child-resistant package for cannabis. The plastic-free package conforms to ASTM D3475 and is made from renewable resources.
As legal cannabis booms, rapidly becoming one of the largest industries in the nation, the importance of satellite industries such as cannabis packaging have been magnified along with it. And as packaging stipulations have evolved with the nascent industry, the development of sustainable packaging designs has been a game-changer in terms of legal cannabis’s appeal, environmental impact, and branding abilities.
Leading the charge on sustainable packaging design is Sun Grown Packaging, a company that came into the cannabis field as an offshoot of a well-established mainstream graphics company. With more than 30 years’ experience in packaging design, the team quickly learned that unique to the cannabis space were the absolute necessity of effective child-resistant packaging (CRP), and a desire for sustainable packaging options. Unfortunately, the latter has been largely absent from the nascent field.
“[Sustainability] is a big deal for people in the cannabis industry,” says Jacqueline Noguera, marketing manager for Sun Grown. “What separates us is our ability to innovate.” With the capacity to print in-house on heavy-duty, tear-resistant substrate, Sun Grown has been able to omit plastic from its packaging designs, something most others in the industry haven’t been able to do.
Thanks to its in-house production and focus on sustainability, Sun Grown has worked with over 30 cannabis businesses on packaging solutions to date, and as these companies have grown, Sun Grown has scaled production capabilities to match. Zoots, Humboldt Cut, and Omega Oil serve as three distinct examples of how companies in the cannabis space have used sustainable packaging to amplify their brand messaging and make a positive impact in the industry.
Zoots: Pioneers of Sustainable Child-Resistant Packaging
Zoots were “forward-thinking pioneers, and first to adopt truly green child-resistant packaging,” says Chris Giles, who worked with Zoots to create what would be Sun Grown’s first design to market in Colorado. “[They recognized] that consumers will tip their hats and reward them for making an effort to reduce plastics.”
The brand’s packaging features a reclosable design that omits plastic entirely. Giles notes that consumers tend to hold onto the reclosable packaging and re-use it for other purposes, meaning that the Zoots brand name permeates consumer consciousness for longer than a disposable plastic package would. “[Zoots] really liked that their brand would stay in the market longer than plastic,” says Giles. “They recognized the marketing play.”
“[Humboldt Cut] wanted to take the high road and protect their product from getting into the wrong hands,” says Brady Hanks, who worked with the Humboldt Cut team to develop the brand’s eye-catching packaging. “They were very impressed with our child-resistant box and wanted to be the first cannabis company on the market using it.”
The patent-pending box is both recyclable and compostable, and because Sun Grown is one of the few companies able to print in-house on sustainable packaging materials at their Oakland facility, the box is made locally. These features help strengthen Humboldt Cut’s “100% natural” message.
Omega Oil: Science and Craftsmanship Reflected in Packaging
Omega Oil’s brand is about bringing science and craftsmanship together to create the purest possible cannabis oil, all of which is reflected in the brand’s imagery, voice, and web presence. Sun Grown worked with the team to design packaging that would augment these elements of the brand while maintaining environmental consciousness.
Says Hanks, “Omega Oil had an idea of what they were looking for in packaging, and we were able to take their idea make it a reality.” In addition to spot gloss used to highlight the Omega Oil logo, a soft-touch coating gives the box a high-end feel.
Tamales de Cana: Unique Packaging for Unique Products
“The client came to us with his idea for one-pack and three-pack cartons for his ‘corn husk’ blunts,” says John Schikora, who worked with Tamales de Cana to satisfy their packaging requests. “Using actual corn husk as the rolling paper not only has distinct advantages in controlling the burn rate, but provides an interested branding concept for the product. Looking for a package as unique as the product, our design department came up with a couple options to satisfy his request.”
Tamales de Cana wanted a triangular package and opted for an unglued folder version, which eliminated the need for a ‘false score.’ This conveyed a clean look on all three sides of the package, underscoring the uniqueness and feel of the 100-percent natural product.