Canadian Cannabis Dispensaries Offer Vape Recycling

The Kolab Project provides recycling bins for vapes, cartridges and batteries.

August 18, 2020

TORONTO—The Kolab Project, a wholly owned subsidiary of Auxly Cannabis Group, an investor in the cannabis industry, is bringing vape recycling bins to Canadian cannabis dispensaries Superette and Inner Spirit, reports

The recycling effort is made possible through a partnership of Greentec, an electronic waste recycling business in Ontario and Auxly, and promoters hope more retailers will adopt them in coming months. 

When vape cartridges run dry, the empty products are considered “electronic waste” due to the battery connection. If a customer simply tosses them in the trash, e-waste products like vape cartridges may contribute to soil and water pollution. The Kolab bins will accept vapes, cartridges and batteries from all licensed producers. 

“Vape recycling poses the same challenges that all e-waste poses,” said Hugo Alves, CEO, Auxly, who estimates that vape cartridges account for 14% of cannabis sales in Canada and that upwards of 10 million cartridges will have been sold by the end of next year.

To solve the problem, Alves and his team turned to Greentec, which maintains a suite of certifications for handling e-scrap. Because cannabis remains a tightly regulated industry, businesses that are interested in recycling must work with an organization that has the credentials to handle that type of waste. 

“By working directly with producers through this program,” said Tony Perrotta, president and CEO, Greentec, “we ensure these materials are recycled to the highest health, safety and environmental standards.” 

“The environmental impact of vape products has been a hot topic,” said Mimi Lam, CEO and co-founder of Superette. “The Kolab Project has a tangible solution that addresses this and demonstrates true industry leadership.”

The program includes customer education, but Alves said that given the climate in all industries, customers understand how a recycling program like this works. Retail partners are encouraged to direct customers to the bins when they return with empty carts.

Auxly vape pens and cartridges are packaged in 100% biodegradable material, and its Robinsons brand of dried flower is sold to customers in glass jars, not plastic.

“It’s an ambitious mandate for us in keeping with our vision to be better environmental stewards in the cannabis industry,” Alves said. “Environmental sustainability is important to us, and we know it’s important to our customers.”