Project Status: In Progress

Metro Vancouver’s Integrated Solid Waste and Resource Management Plan (ISWRMP) has a goal to minimize waste generation, and to maximize reuse, recycling and material recovery. Non-medical cannabis use was legalized in Canada on October 17, 2018.  With a growing number of commercial cannabis producers in the region, Metro Vancouver can expect additional waste production from these facilities. To fulfill the goal of minimizing waste generation, it is important for Metro Vancouver to understand the quantity and types of waste generated from commercial cannabis producers. 

The purpose of this project is:

  • To determine the expected annual quantity of waste produced by commercial cannabis production and processing facilities in the Metro Vancouver region; and
  • To determine the different constituents of solid waste produced from the cannabis industry, and the associated best management practices.

Outline the scope of project including how the researchers work will be used by Metro Vancouver

Metro Vancouver will use the results of this project to help inform the development of potential policies for managing cannabis waste. The scope of work expected of the researcher may include:

  • Completing a jurisdictional scan of cannabis waste best management practices in municipalities where cannabis has been legal for several years. This may include internet research and interviews;
  • Compiling waste information on commercial cannabis production facilities located in Metro Vancouver, including quantity and types of existing and expected future wastes (e.g. when edibles become legal);
  • Research on commercial cannabis growth practices which may affect the waste product (e.g. the use of pesticides on cannabis plants);
  • Evaluating the following methods for cannabis waste disposal from an (a) operational, (b) environmental, (c) economic, and (d) regulatory standpoint:
    • Composting, presumably combined with other commercial organics
    • anaerobic digestion, presumably combined with other commercial organics
    • animal feed production,
    • incineration as part of the municipal solid waste stream, and
    • landfilling as part of the municipal solid waste stream
  • Determine if there are any regulatory requirements for the production of compost or animal feed from cannabis waste (e.g. can compost produced from cannabis waste be applied to soil used for food crops?).

Project Deliverables:

Final report and presentation to Metro Vancouver staff outlining key findings and recommendations:

  • Literature review and key findings of available relevant data;
  • Estimated types and quantities of commercial cannabis waste expected to be produced in Metro Vancouver, with a map showing the locations of major producers
  • Evaluation of the disposal options for commercial cannabis waste based on operational, environmental, economic and regulatory criteria, with suggestions on options that could be considered in Metro Vancouver

Required Skillset

☒ Excellent research and writing skills

☒ Strong analytical skills

☒ Ability to work independently

☒ Demonstrated time management skills

☒ Demonstrated experience in interviewing, or similar in-person research

☒ Familiarity with benchmarking methods and tools

☒ Experience with financial modelling and analysis

☒ Demonstrated interest in sustainability

☒ Familiarity with research methodologies and survey techniques

Estimated Time and Cost

Metro Vancouver aims to have a finalized report and presentation by September 2019. The following is a breakdown of the estimated time the researcher will spend on specific tasks.

Task Time (hours)
Correspondence and check-in meetings with MV staff 20
Development of a list of active waste management facilities accepting cannabis waste and developing interview questions (for in-region and out-of-region facilities) 20
Conducting interviews and follow-up 30
Research and summarize cannabis growth and disposal practices within the region, including estimate of quantities and types of waste 40
Research and summarize the regulatory environment surrounding cannabis waste 30
Analyze results based on operational feasibility, environment, economic and regulatory impacts 80
Developing final report and presentation for Metro Vancouver 30
Total 250