From Keurig brand K-Cups to plastic straws, vapor products pave the way for faster, cheaper and easier consumption. Enter the strain-based vape pen: arguably one of the most popular ways to “smoke” weed. It’s perceived to be a safer alternative to smoking, but the jury is still out when it comes to hidden additives that could be in vapes. At any rate, it’s much easier on the respiratory system.

The reason most people turn to strain-based vape pens seems to be simplicity: you buy a pen and choose a cartridge that suits your preference for size and strain. Then, you vape it as frequently or as sparingly as you want. When the cartridge runs out of oil, you buy a new one.

“Vape pens are here to stay,” Ryan Miller, former director of operations at vape pen manufacturer OMG Farms, said. “People really like the convenience of the product, but the biggest criticism has been that they’re ‘disposable’ and there isn’t any infrastructure around recycling them.”

OMG Farms, which was later acquired by CaniBrands, previously had collection boxes at participating dispensaries so people could recycle their old vape pens. But Miller told GreenState, when new regulations began in 2018, dispensaries were no longer able to collect the used products.

Alex Traverso, chief of communications at the California Bureau of Cannabis Control, said that current regulations don’t prevent these collection boxes. However, they do leave dispensaries with the responsibility of “damaging out” used vape cartridges, or destroying them in accordance to waste regulations, so that they can be recycled. This process can be challenging and unsafe for workers.

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