Colorado Adopts New Marijuana Waste Rules To Encourage Composting

The goal is to reduce the industry’s growing carbon footprint

Colorado marijuana regulators have adopted new waste management rules intended to reduce the industry’s growing carbon footprint.

According to the state Department of Public Health and Environment, 3,650 tons (7.3 million pounds) of marijuana plant waste was produced by the state’s pot industry in 2019, and that number would be increased to 7,300 tons by a requirement that unused plant matter and product be mixed with waste such as sawdust, mature compost, bleach, coffee grounds, sand, glass or shredded paper — as long as the marijuana-to-waste ratio is 50/50.

Although the state Marijuana Enforcement Division didn’t remove or alter the 50/50 requirement, as had been discussed at previous meetings, the MED did open up several paths around it in the department’s latest round of extensive rule updates, adding new exemptions for biomass recycling and composting methods. According to CDPHE marijuana environmental impact researcher and small-business consultant Kaitlin Urso, the new waste removal rules will take effect at the start of 2021.

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