What is a cannabis waste shredder? And other questions on cannabis disposal, answered


Did you know that the United States cannabis market is expected to reach a value of $30 billion within the next 8 years?

That means there will be many more people in the coming years enjoying this plant and the wellness benefits it can offer (yay!)

But with any booming industry comes the question of waste. Unfortunately, the cannabis industry has a bad rep for contributing to the global greenhouse gas emissions problem — mostly via large, indoor grow facilities. So many growers are making an effort to dispose of cannabis waste in the most eco-friendly way possible.

To make things more complicated, cannabis is considered a “hazardous” waste in states where it is legal. We’ll get into what that means later, but the bottom line is you can’t just throw cannabis in the trash like you would other greens.

That’s where a cannabis waste shredder comes in.

Never heard of it? That’s not surprising. Cannabis (or hemp) waste shredders aren’t incredibly common, but a growing number of people in the industry are starting to use them.

We put together a few bullet points to give you a basic understanding of what a cannabis waste shredder is, how it’s used, and why it matters to you.

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What is a cannabis waste shredder?

Put in the simplest terms possible, a cannabis waste shredder is a tool used to grind down cannabis waste into manageable biomass. This includes both the wet and dry parts of the plant.

If you’ve ever used a woodchipper to chop big tree branches into little wood chips, or even a paper shredder, you’ll have an idea of how this thing works. From roots and stems to mesh and even plastic containers, a good waste shredder can reduce everything.

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How is cannabis normally disposed of?

You may be wondering why producers and sellers simply don’t throw their cannabis waste in the garbage can with everything else. This is due to the fact that marijuana is classified as hazardous waste.

What that means is cannabis can do harm if it gets in the wrong hands. By leaving cannabis in trash bags, one opens up the possibility that it could be discovered by children, the black market, and others who could be harmed or break the law by using it.

After all, there are chemical components in cannabis that aren’t found in your typical garden weed. Even the parts of cannabis that don’t contain THC, such as the stem or root, must be disposed of properly. If not, then it’s possible for a business to get into legal trouble.

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Who are cannabis waste shredders made for?

Because of all the regulations mentioned above, cannabis waste shredders are mostly a tool designed for growers, extractors, and dispensaries.

Cannabis production comes with a lot of waste, and the cannabis products that come from it often come with an expiration date. Instead of drowning in a bunch of bad weed, this expired cannabis or hemp must be destroyed.

Of course, you could burn the excess product, but then it couldn’t be used for any other purpose. Many people choose to use cannabis waste shredders so the product can be recycled into biomass.

Why should I care?

You may be wondering why anyone outside of the industry would care about this. If you don’t own an indoor grow facility, why would you need to worry about how you toss your stash?

Individuals who do not own cannabis businesses may still want to invest in cannabis waste shredders, or simply use grinders to destroy waste before tossing it in the garbage, for two reasons:

  1. Disposing of cannabis waste in the proper way is also good for the environment because it reduces waste to a manageable level.
  2. You will be assisting your community by not exposing people to cannabis products who should not have them.

Though most US states will not have specific regulations on how you should dispose of cannabis waste, it’s a good idea to comply with the same disposal regulations cannabis businesses do to avoid your excess weed falling in the hands of children and others who could be harmed by it, and to do your part for the environment.

This is one of those good deeds that is really easy to put into practice. Just make your cannabis products “unusable and unrecognizable” before throwing them out. It will probably take you five minutes and it can really make an impact.


Whether you’re an individual consumer or the owner of a booming dispensary chain, it’s important to consider the implications of how you dispose of your cannabis waste (though we realize it’s not the sexiest topic.)

We’ve given you the top things you should know about cannabis waste shredders, but there are many other ways to dispose of cannabis responsibly.

For more information on proper cannabis disposal, research your state’s regulations on the disposal of hazardous waste.

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