Welcome to the New Age of Cannabis Sustainability – The BioRoter Way
Minimizing carbon footprints and environmental impact is extremely important for businesses in any industry. Environmental degradation, through green house gas emissions, waste creation and more, has serious consequences for our planet, meaning it’s essential to act responsibly to minimize this damage wherever possible.
This of course includes the cannabis industry, which is set to explode in size and production volume in the very near future. Grow lights eat up energy while producing heat and water use is a large part of cannabis production. Licensed producers also create lots of waste material through regular grow operations, and while much of this waste is recyclable (paper, plastic, glass, water), there is also lots of organic waste (plant material) produced which needs to be taken care of in a different manner. If the environmental impact issue isn’t properly addressed now, before operations get into full-swing, the cannabis industry threatens to have large consequences on environmental sustainability.
Luckily, it’s possible to greatly reduce any impact on the environment through modern smart and sustainable cannabis operations. Recycling waste, installing energy efficient LED grow lights, using excess heat to regulate temperatures and conserving water where possible are all included in possible positive practices. However, getting rid of the organic waste (plant material) which is generated can prove to be a slightly more complicated consideration.
For a licensed cannabis producer to dispose of the plant material waste from their operations, all organic matter must first be denatured. Denaturing is the process of breaking down harmful pathogens that can be found in plant (and other) waste to reduce the risk of contamination. Denaturing is essential for bio-security by destroying dangerous pathogens before material leaves the site. In terms of cannabis production, the material which must be denatured includes all plant leaves, stems, roots, trimmings etc. Due to the nature of cannabis operations, there is bound to be massive amounts of this waste, which can become difficult to dispose of responsibly.
Waste plant material is typically burned or composted to kill pathogens. Composting is often too slow a process on a large scale, so it’s often mixed with cat litter and water to speed up the process.
This means that neither of these solutions is particularity easy on the environment, as burning releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and cat litter is filled with nasty additives that can poison the compost. It’s a good thing there’s now another option available to cannabis producers for dealing with plant material waste – a BioRoter Compost Digester.
To view this system first hand, we visited the facilities of Canadian licensed cannabis producer Indiva Ltd.
In June 2017, Indiva Ltd. installed a BioRoter Compost Digester on their site in London, Ontario. It’s a 34ft long, tube shaped composter that the company uses to denature all its waste plant material, destroying pathogens while creating high-quality compost.
The process is energy efficient, does not create harmful greenhouse gas emissions and results in great organic soil perfect for farming. Soil structure, fertility and water retention are all improved, which is great for farmers that can find it difficult to meet their soil and fertilizer requirements.
Indiva Ltd. runs all of its plant waste through the BioRoter and donates the fertilizer to local farmers. This drastically cuts down on the waste and environmental impact of Indiva Ltd. operations, while promoting sustainable agriculture in the area.
The BioRoter Compost Digester system at Indiva Ltd. processes compost in about a week, regenerating up to roughly 100 kg’s of organic fertilizer through its process. The system is cost-effective, and more importantly environmentally sustainable. The unit is self contained, so it’s out of sight and odour free as it reduces contamination risks.
Indiva Ltd. is the first company to implement the BioRoter system as a licensed producer, and they hope to see many others in the industry adopt this or a similar waste processing method.
Now is the time for companies to implement a responsible system to process their organic waste. Burning or landfill disposal are not environmentally sustainable methods and will turn out to be costlier in the long run anyways. It’s also important to help out the planet wherever possible, and this is one of the easiest and most beneficial ways for licensed to producers to do just that.