Disposable vapes and cartridges reach new highs every day, and with them an enormous amount of post-consumer waste.

Disposable vapes and cartridges reach new highs every day and with them an enormous amount of post-consumer waste. According to BDS Analytics, vape cartridges are the fastest-growing sector of California’s $2.5 billion cannabis industry. Millions of power supplies and cartridges are produced every year, and California is expected to account for nearly one-fourth of all cannabis sales in the U.S. by 2024.

With no avenue for recycling these products, it has a serious waste crisis to solve. A December 15 art show in Sacramento, UpcyclePop: Eco Holiday Market and Carts for the Arts Premier Exhibit, draws attention to this issue.

Finding an opportunity in trash

To call attention to the problem, Up Kindness, a Sacramento nonprofit, in partnership with Big Karma, a socially responsible cannabis brand, and product design firm Canna Co-Operative, will hold a panel discussion with statewide experts as well as Carts for the Arts, an exhibit of works made from empty vape carts, December

Panelists include Heidi Sanborn, executive director of the National Stewardship Action Council; Maria Espinoza, Director of Services for GAIACA Waste Revitalization; Tom Zuber, managing partner, Zuber Lawler & Del Duca Law; Michelle Dougherty, Big Karma; and Dante Pasquini, NUG. Artists scheduled to exhibit include Christina Pate, Thumpcase, Thomas Ramey, Seth Dougherty, Yennie Zhou, and Franceska J. Gamez.

“California needs to take action to address the waste problem of getting wasted,” said Shira Lane, executive director of Up Kindness. “The very regulations that were intended to keep cannabis safe and sustainable are restricting the industry from adopting easy, environmentally-friendly recycling programs that manufacturers, brands, dispensaries, and environmental advocates are calling for.”

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