Dixie GO GREEN (6 Months in)
- By Aleah Radovich
We rely heavily on Mother Nature to create our products, and we have a responsibility to take care of her if we want future generations to continue to benefit from the cannabis plant. That’s why sustainability is so important to us here at Dixie, and it’s what inspired us to launch Dixie GO GREEN — our commitment to transitioning our business towards a more sustainable and environmentally-friendly future.
We’re committed to making this happen…but we didn’t say it was going to be easy! Sustainability, after all, is a worldwide challenge, but the level of this challenge is even greater for the cannabis industry. Before we dive into everything we’ve been working on over these last six months, it’s helpful to understand the confines of the cannabis industry that impact the ability of cannabis businesses to focus on sustainability.
Why Sustainability is Difficult to Achieve in the Cannabis Industry
This Forbes article states it simply and spot-on, “State regulations make it hard for cannabis companies to focus on sustainability.” As you may already know, there is a lot of material required to package any cannabis product. It needs to be child-resistant (which usually requires more material), have a ton of labeling, and in many cases, leaves the store with you in an exit bag. While these regulations are established for a reason — for the safety of consumers and children — unfortunately, they do make sustainability more of a challenge. It’s especially challenging considering regulations vary by state and can often change. This can mean that if you just ordered a large supply of packaging, and regulations change, you’ll need to adjust or completely re-do all the non-compliant packaging. See how this gets to be tough?
Being a nascent industry, we don’t yet have any clear rules for how to make things more sustainable. Because it’s such a new industry, we’re still trying to gather enough data that’s needed to develop a set of best practices that promote sustainability.
But we’re trying to change that. It may be difficult, but that doesn’t stop us! At Dixie, we’re experimenting and analyzing how we can be more sustainable every day. Our hope is that this will start a wave of sustainability in the cannabis industry.
What We’re Doing to Become More Sustainable: It Starts With GO GREEN
Although we officially launched GO GREEN in April of 2019, our commitment to doing things right and being responsible in everything that we do goes all the way back to our inception in 2010.
Since day one, it’s been important to us to employ sustainable water practices. We also recycle all paper, plastic, boxes, and old machinery that we can. We work with Ecolab to pre-measure all of our ingredients so we don’t use more than what we need and we can ensure zero waste. Additionally, we utilize a sanitizing machine, to clean platewear and kitchen equipment in the facility, that uses 50% recycled water.
In 2015, we first addressed how we could become more sustainable with our packaging, which is a huge hurdle for the cannabis industry. We worked with TricorBraun to redesign our flagship Elixir bottle to be made of type 1 recyclable plastic.
These efforts continue as part of Dixie GO GREEN, and we’re excited about the waves we’ve been making in sustainability these last six months.
Colorado’s First Clean Green Certified Facility
As part of our GO GREEN initiative, we wanted to improve our facilities to be more sustainable by 2020. We’re thrilled to announce that our Denver HQ is officially the first Clean Green Certified facility in Colorado!
In case you’re not familiar, Clean Green Certified is the only nationally recognized third-party certification program for sustainable cannabis businesses. In order for a facility to become Clean Green Certified, it must meet a series of requirements, centered around sustainability. A facility is assessed for things such as the source of electricity, procedures for ensuring marketplace legality, the substances you use in your products, sanitization methods, staff training etc. Dixie has received provisional certification for our Denver HQ and will look to incorporate Clean Green Certified oil into upcoming product categories in order to produce CGC products.
75% Reduced Waste!
Another GO GREEN goal we’ve been working towards is reducing packaging waste. In addition to doing a full-suite packaging audit, we’ve made a huge and impactful change with our gummies packaging. We’ll soon be making the switch from using plastic tubes for our gummies to using pouches that use 75% less plastic!
That’s something we’re very proud of, but it doesn’t stop there. Packaging will continue to be an important effort of our Dixie GO GREEN program and we’re making moves to create some pretty big environmentally-friendly transformations.
To help us achieve this we’re working with Sana Packaging to do a packaging audit across all Dixie products. The things that we are looking at include source material (virgin plastic or reused resins), ability to be recycled, reused or composted, and regulation and compliance. This will help us identify what we need to prioritize to help the environment!
Our end goal is to have all Dixie product packaging, meet Class One Recyclability standards within two years (within the confines of the industry, of course)!
It’s Also About Social Good
When we talk about sustainability, we often limit the conversation to environmental sustainability, however, the community is another important pillar of the conversation. That’s why as a part of GO GREEN, we strive to give back to our community as much as we can.
Every Thanksgiving, our team volunteers with Food Solutions 2 Inc to distribute Thanksgiving meals to those in need. Additionally, our team went to Civic Center Park in Denver on the hottest day of the summer, to pass out sandwiches and cold water. Check out some of the pics below!
Beyond what we’ve done, we’re committed to supporting community environmental efforts via brand-supported investments and volunteering. We’re committed to offering a 2 day/year/employee volunteer program (company paid leave). This way, not only can our brand give back to the community, but our entire team can give back in a way that’s meaningful to them.
The Future of GO GREEN
We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished, but we also still have a lot that we’re committed to achieving. Going green will continue to be a priority as we break ground on a new Denver headquarters in 2020. Dixie is committed to:
- Recycling all recyclable items, such as boxes, aluminum cans, and paper
- Transitioning all light fixtures to LED
- Implementing low flow water valves
- Eliminating use of paper by adding things like hand air blowers to our facility
- Sourcing green cleaning chemicals
- Implementing energy-efficient refrigeration, cooking, and cooling devices
- Moving from a 7 day work week to a 6 day work week to cut energy usage
- Sourcing recycled ocean plastic as regulation and availability allows
- Providing a $500 annual credit to employees that have electric cars