Drowning in Plastic: A guide to canna-recycling

written by Skyla Patton, photographed by Lily Brennan 

Do you remember the saying, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”? Thrifters know this to be a time-honored truth, but it also works in reverse: something that starts as treasure can easily become trash, too easily these days as we find ourselves drowning in plastic and other waste amid a climate crisis. The cannabis industry is famous for innovation and resourcefulness, but anyone who’s ever stepped foot inside a dispensary knows that it’s one that relies heavily on plastic and disposable products. The collection of single-use joint tubes piling up in the corner of my bedroom accuses me every time I add another to the mountain. Here are a few user-friendly ways to make your consumption habits even more eco-friendly. 

First and foremost, check recycling access near you 

While we can’t toss our cannabis-plastics into SANIPAC or APEX bins quite yet, there are still options for recycling things like joint tubes or cartridges depending on your area. Here in Eugene and Springfield, there are plenty of dispensaries that will accept clean, label-free joint and flower tubes for recycling or refilling with your latest purchase. It’s always a good idea to call first and ask prior to bringing in your bags of recyclables, just to make sure you’re heading to the right place with your haul. Bonus Tip: The fastest way to remove labels from tubes is to soak them. Fill your sink with hot, soapy water and submerge your joint or flower tubes to soak for 10-15 minutes, or until labels are easily peeled off. If residue persists, use the rough side of a sponge to scrub it off. 

Keep exit bags in your car for easy access 

I never remember to bring my reusable grocery bags into the store unless they’re right in front of me, so to fix that problem, I store them in the back seat so I have to see them before I go in. The same rule of thumb applies for the child-safe exit bags we get our cannabis goodies in, a mandatory part of the shopping process but a plastic-creator nevertheless. Keeping one large exit bag in your car (or buying a reusable cloth exit bag to make it personal and stylish) will help you remember to rely on that, and prevent another pile of plastic packaging from growing in your home. 

Seek out sustainable brands to put your money where your anxiety is 

When it comes to issues like single-use cartridges or product packaging, there isn’t a good way to sugarcoat things: it’s wasteful, and we’ve got to work together on a solution to come up with something better than what we’re currently working with. That could look like calling local representatives about cannabis laws, getting involved in the Oregon Cannabis Commission, or even just having meaningful conversations about how to address cannabis waste with your peers. In the meantime, you can also have a direct impact by favoring sustainable products and brands when you shop. Ask your budtender which products have the seal of eco-friendly approval, or do some background research before your next dispo trip to see which companies have made commitments to certain environmental goals or mission statements with a sustainable focus. 

When all else fails, make some rose colored glasses 

The easiest and sometimes most creative way to lower your plastic waste from your cannabis endeavors is to reuse all of it in a newer, better way rather than tossing it in the trash. Pop tops and joint tubes? Clean them out and repurpose into storage for office supplies, vitamins, snacks on the go, homemade joints or blunts, pens or pencils, the list goes on and on. Glass jars? Storage for future nugs, herbs, jewelry, loose change, heck, whatever you want to put in there. I recently saw a Pinterest board of all the different ways to use cannabis-containers for all your plant and propagation needs, with jars as succulents pots and pop tops as seed starters. Grab bags could carry sandwiches to-go or turn into a DIY first aid kit to keep in the car. Gather your favorite art supplies, your best creativity-inducing strain  and start repurposing to your heart’s content. Saving the planet and boosting your serotonin, all in one project. 

Simplifying The Indoor Home Grow

written by Kaylynn Wohl, photographed by Kimberly Harris

Extended time in isolation has fueled the sparks under our joints to finally pursue the indoor home grow. Although there’s ease with mastering the outdoor grow during Oregon’s glorious 12 hour day/ night cycles, there’s also intrigue to leveling up by bringing the buds inside. 

When parenting your own micro ecosystem, every tiny detail and decision is crucial for the success of your plant babies. Being a baller on a budget creates some constraints on the process. It may be intimidating to start. This simplified guide serves to inspire every homebody home grower to get the process started. Doing your own research for your unique situation is highly encouraged. 

Step 1: Where are you growing?

My first attempt at an indoor grow had failed miserably in Arizona while choosing to set up in a closet with very little airflow. I was also in the process of moving which undoubtedly put the youngling under immense stress during relocation. My research on setting up in a closet was very limited which is how I quickly learned the hard way after coming home to a crispy green carcass.  

The first question you should ask yourself is: where will I grow?

If choosing a room, remember that any and all light the leaves can access will induce photosynthesis. As each strain requires its own specific lightcycle, access to other light may confuse the plant if it’s outside of the scheduled ‘daytime.’ The amount of intended light the plant receives should be consistent. It’s also necessary to monitor for signs of too much or too little light as indicated by the leaves. 

Closets are ideal for a DIY situation, it’s just crucial to make sure the space between the plants and the light source are far enough to prevent burning the leaves or cooking the plant entirely. Depending on the strain choice, some plants may need to be closer to the light source than others. In small closed off areas, you’ll most likely need fans for cooling and venting purposes.

Step 2: What are you growing?

If you’re a real baller on a budget, odds are you may have stored some random seeds you found in your buds. Experimenting with these are low stakes; alhough, the sex characterstics of these seeds will be unknown until investigating after the vegetative stage and before the flowering stage. I do encourage doing your own research if going this route. 

Back to elementary bean sprouts, starting cannabis seeds can be as easy as wet paper towels and a plastic bag. This route allows you to witness sprouting and daily progress growth. Otherwise, using a seed starter that places seeds directly into a soil can feel like a guessing game, though totally manageable.

Researching beginner strains is helpful in the long run while causing far less stress on a new grower. Autoflowering strains are known to provide successful yields due to strong genetics that allow the plant to do most of the work with low maintenance. Personal favorite strains like Jack Herer, Northern Lights or Blue Dream can be a good place to start, depending on what the grower wants for the end product. 

Local shops do provide seeds, though some hunting is required. These are relatively pricier than what I was able to find online like Seedsman Seeds, a European company known for super discreet packaging. Online options are seemingly endless, allowing any grower to find exactly what they’re looking for and see reviews of the process or yield. 

If you’re hoping to get growing sooner, skip the germination process entirely. Plenty of dispensaries around town offer clones. It’s like pet adoption, but they won’t pee on your couch. 

Step 3: What lights do you need?

This question also reflects how much you wish to yield. Monthly energy cost is also a considerable factor. Before making the purchase of what is considerably the biggest investment within this process, I highly recommend surfing the internet for used lights first. 

The three ideal types of lighting for indoor growing are fluorescent, high intensity discharge and LED. For the purpose of simplification, fluorescent lighting is ideally a good start. CFLs (swirly-looking light bulbs) provide an average yield of one to two ounces, great for a beginner. These can be beneficial for smaller spaces where big lamps wouldn’t fit. T5 tube fluorescents are also recommended for a higher yield and can be easily found in gardening and home improvement stores. 

For a slightly spendier commitment, LED lights are highly common for indoor growing. These have a safety component by having built-in cooling elements while also not needing to be frequently moved like fluorescent lights. Typically, more vertical space is needed between the plant and the LED light. Fans are still recommended since LED lamps can be tricky to get the hang with no set standard.

Step 4: What containers, soil, nutrients?

On a tight budget, I’ve tried using local compost but the critters that came along with it made it hard to control the indoor environment the way that I needed to. I was able to bake the soil at 140 degrees F, killing the pathogens and allowing beneficial microorganisms to survive. If needed, I could go this route with cannabis while more attention to nutrient levels would be needed.

Soil is something I don’t mind spending on. Foxfarm soils provide a nutrient dense environment that plants thrive off of until needing later-in-life assistance. During the vegetative stage, your plant is craving nitrogen (N). The flowering stage calls for very low nitrogen, instead needing phosphorus (P) and potassium (K). Getting to know the plant’s signs throughout the process is helpful in understanding when to feed it what. Don’t be shy, these are your children. 

When choosing a container, keep in mind that the size of the root space is relevant to the size of the growth. Breathable root pouches are my go-to: they last a long time, washable/reusable and provide the root space sufficient aeration and drainage. Otherwise, five gallon buckets with proper drainage are plenty fine.

Step 5: Happy Growing!

Of course the process of successful cannabis cultivation requires far more intermittent steps and a healthy dose of trial and error. Get to know your grow; usually it will communicate in some form about what it needs from you. If you’re ever unsure, YouTube has everything. We all start somewhere. 

Hopefully this simplified guide reminded you of your green thumb while taking away some of the intimidating aspects. Besides, it’s pretty cool to be able to give your friends a nug you raised. 

If this guide assisted your set up, show us on Instagram @GreenEugeneMag!

How to Stash Your Stash

Words by Delaney Rea | Photo by Trevor Meyer

Finding your ideal strain of marijuana is essential to the experience. Each variety has its own set of nuances and user effects, so researching what works for you is worth the effort. However, if you’re still storing your bud of choice in the same old Ziploc plastic baggies, you’re doing it mighty wrong. Plastic bags can damage the quality of the flower, leaving you with a much less potent supply than you originally started with. With the cannabis industry on the rise, the need for smarter storing methods has risen too.

Mason jars are one solution to the plastic bag problem. You probably know these ubiquitous containers for their wide range of uses: drinkware, canning, decor, food storage, etc. These versatile, nearly air-tight sealed glass jars are practically tailor-made for keeping cannabis in pristine condition. Glass contains the terpenes of the bud far more effectively, while also preventing the chemical transference into the bud itself that comes from plastic containers. The quality of your flower will be better maintained in a glass jar.

The team at Re:stash recognizes the power of the mason jar. Started by University of Oregon graduates Eric Harvey, Nicole Harvey and Adrian Kimberley, Re:stash’s parent company Mason-re began as a to-go coffee cup manufacturer that used the jars as a selling point. Originally, the venture was funded by Kickstarter. Their initial goal was to raise $8,000, which they significantly overshot—to the tune of $17,000.

Unlike many student-created Kickstarter projects, this launching point allowed the business to take off. Berner, a San Francisco-based rapper and entrepreneur, saw promise in the new company and became their first investor. As one of the parties responsible for introducing the popular Girl Scout Cookies strain to the dispensary market, Berner had connections in the cannabis industry that helped the Harveys and Kimberley further cement their place as a premiere bud storage manufacturer.

Now, the company integrates the mason jar into their line of cannabis storage products. According to Kimberley, who serves as the Chief Operating Officer of Mason-re, the idea for the Re:stash product line came when they noticed how popular mason jars had become for storing cannabis. The Re:stash line now ranks among their most popular products. “People like the fact that someone is finally doing it right,” Kimberley said.

The use of “re” in the Mason-re and Re:stash brand stands for reducing, reusing and recycling. Based in Bend, the company’s philosophy is to promote sustainability. Their mason jars are meant to be reused beyond their initial purpose. Re:stash jars are more sustainable than the environmentally damaging, single-use plastic tubs that most dispensaries use to sell their product. Additionally, every Re:stash lid uses their own patented design. The flax-filled polypropylene lids are made with biological waste product to replace traditional materials that would take energy to mine and produce, thus reducing their carbon footprint. This reduction of plastic waste is a major part of what drives the Re:stash business model. Additionally, the lids are designed to be child-proof, so you won’t have to worry about any young ones getting their hands on your supply.

Re:stash jars improve marijuana storage in a variety of ways. With size options ranging from 4 to 16 ounce jars (which can hold an entire ounce of cannabis), Re:stash has the right jar for any user. The first thing you’ll notice about the jars is the 100% premium silicone koozie that wraps around the outside of the glass. Opaquely colored, the koozies prevent damage from excessive light exposure. With an array of colors and designs, there’s a koozie to match anyone’s preferred aesthetic. These koozies stop the temperature inside the jar from fluctuating. Since bud is best stored in a cool, dry place, the Re:stash koozie will help preserve the flower quality no matter where it’s stored. If you have a tendency for clumsiness, the Re:stash koozie also prevents breaks from dropping. Additionally, the koozie helps to prevent the growth of mildew and mold on your product.

Re:stash isn’t the only company to make use of glass packaging. At Frequent Vibrationz, hand-picked buds stay sealed in glass containers to keep them fresh. Like Re:stash, Frequent Vibrationz strives to maintain a commitment to environmental sustainability. Their glass jars can be returned in-store after every 10 flower purchases for a 10% discount. Fewer plastic containers from dispensaries ending up in landfills will help you reduce your carbon footprint while enjoying your favorite strain.

Re:stash products can be found at Re-Stash.com, with additional mason jar products by Mason-re at Mason-Re.com. Frequent Vibrationz (541-505-9671) is located at 1409 Oak St. in Eugene. They’re open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.