BINGHAMTON, NY – (WIVT/WBGH) With the proliferation of marijuana products, legal and illegal, in New York State has seen an explosion in the amount of small plastic packaging.
Today’s Koffman Innovations segment introduces us to the Mini MRF Company. It’s developing a streamlined and convenient way for marijuana users to recycle the polypropylene number 5 tubes and cannisters that pre rolls, flower, and edibles come in.
Founder and CEO Rich Park was a salesman in the cannabis industry in Oregon for several years.
He grew frustrated with the knowledge that conventional recycling typically does not handle plastic packages that are less than six ounces. Park developed a kiosk that can be placed in legal dispensaries where users can return their waste. He says education is key.
“Let them know that there is a solution aside from throwing them in your blue bins, your curbside recycling and thinking that it’s going to get recycled, wishing it to be recycled but ultimately knowing that it ends up on the facility floors and landfills which is what we’re trying to stop” Park said.
Aside from collecting the cannisters, vials and tubes, the Mini MRF can collect data about how much has been collected and over what time. Park says many states are adopting laws requiring plastics recycling and incentivizing those who facilitate it. He’d like to see New York’s Office of Cannabis Management provide grants to support the effort. Park says child safety rules have made the problem worse.
“There’s a lot of unnecessary plastic too. With all of the child-proof packaging laws, you compare it to the alcohol industry. They don’t make you put them in child-proof packaging. That’s the problem, we’re trying to destigmatize cannabis” he added.
Park says his goal is to have a Mini MRF kiosk in every legal dispensary in the country, including those opening up in Greater Binghamton. The plastics collected are currently being stored in Oklahoma as Park seeks funding and a location to establish his own recycling facility designed to handle smaller-sized packaging.