Waste management is a vital step in the cannabis production process, but one step that rarely receives the interest it deserves. Licensed growers across the U.S. and Canada must meet many municipal and regional waste disposal laws, as cannabis waste isn’t as simple as a quick visit to the regional landfill, or an easy composting bin.
Micron Waste Technologies, headquartered in Vancouver, BC, Canada, has applied for a collaboration agreement with Canadian heavy-hitter, Aurora Cannabis Inc. Micron concentrates on developing on-site organic waste treatment systems, which depend on microorganisms to break down landfill-bound waste on site.
Although historically dedicated to food waste, they have turned their focus on the marijuana waste management procedures, along with its subsequent waste problem. Their patent-pending technologies turn organic waste into clean water, and the testing phase is expected to wrap up the installation of an on-site test digester in an Aurora facility inside the next few months.
The Growing Problem With Cannabis Waste
In accordance with the recent statistics emerging from B.C.’s southern neighbor, the state Washington, cannabis waste is becoming a genuine headache for producers as well as the regional landfills. In Washington alone, 1.7 million pounds of cannabis waste has accumulated since legalization in 2014.
Despite most cannabis bi-products being entirely compostable, many regions have determined that marijuana waste needs to be treated as medical waste. In other areas, some industrial composting companies made our minds up to follow the government law rather than local state laws on cannabis. Regardless of the underlying reason, Micron has zeroed with this costly industry headache as his or her next potential audience.
In Washington, composters report hauling from 3,000 to 4,000 pounds of waste per week off their cannabis clients. For most producers, maintaining compliance while at the same time upholding high environmental standards is really a near impossible task. In Washington state, skilled professionals think that most cannabis waste simply goes directly to the landfill. Few producers try and contract it out with an industrial composter.
Through its agreement with Aurora, and also the recent addition of BC Research and engineering consultancy centered on bringing emerging technology towards the commercial space, Micron is set to revolutionize the industry. They may be striving to perfect a cutting-edge digester, that can process all organic materials (soils, stems, stalks, leaves, and more) into grey water iaouzk meets municipal discharge standards. Whether the producer relies on conventional pesticides, or organic growing techniques, the ultimate product after on-site processing will likely be water clean enough to dump down the sink.
Aerobic Waste Management
The first step in Micron’s innovative cannabis waste disposal system features a tag team of mechanical and microorganism action, transforming the organic waste into sludge. The 2nd step pumps the slurry through four unique environments which use further microbes and specialized enzymes to convert it into non-potable, but otherwise clean grey water. When fully processed, water is free of charge from Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD), Total Suspended Solids, Biochemical Oxygen (BOD) and then any remaining fats, oils or grease (FOG).