Washington State’s decision to legalize recreational marijuana has generated revenue for the state, but it’s also created a new waste problem thanks to 1.7 million pounds of plant waste generated by the industry since its inception in 2014.
The Stranger took a look at how the state is dealing with the issue of the waste the new industry is responsible for generating. According to the site, much of that waste is ending up in landfills rather than composted.
The site has more:
In Spokane County, there are more pot producers and processors than any other county in the state, but none are composting. Scott Deatherage, an operations manager with Spokane County's largest industrial composting company, Barr-Tech, said they don't collect compost from any producers. "I've talked to a few guys and told them we could do it, but so far they haven't brought anything to us," Deatherage explained.
In Thurston County, where there are 76 producers and processors, only 10 cannabis farms contract with LeMay Pacific Disposal, the largest industrial compost hauler in the county. This according to LeMay recycling coordinator Emmett Brown, who wasn't able to estimate how many pounds of waste they collected from those farms.
In Whatcom County, where upwards of 215,000 pounds of plant waste was created in 2016, the industrial composter declines cannabis waste. "Our local composter [Green Earth Technology] is following federal law, so they are not accepting cannabis waste," said Rodd Pemple, the recycling manager for Bellingham's largest waste hauler, Sanitary Service Company. "So all of our local [cannabis] generators have been instructed to put it in the garbage."