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State Program Will Recycle Brewers’ Carbon Dioxide to Make Colorado Cannabis Market More Eco-Friendly

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The Colorado health department and energy office recently launched a new program that will combine the forces of two businesses operating in niche markets otherwise competing with each other – craft brews and legal cannabis. The program aims to help make both industries more eco-friendly while improving energy efficiency and reducing carbon emissions. 

State officials are calling the program the Carbon Dioxide Reuse Project, partnering a dispensary called The Clinic Colorado with the Denver Beer Company. This brewery is a perfect companion for a cannabis dispensary, featuring a dog-friendly outdoor beer garden and food trucks. 

From The Denver Post: “Brewing a 120-barrel batch of beer produces enough carbon dioxide naturally through fermentation to fill a 500-pound vessel,” said Charlie Berger, co-founder of Denver Beer Co.

The brewery will use a machine that captures the CO2 emitted during the beer-making process, then provide the dispensary with it, which can be used to help ensure the healthy growth of cannabis plants. 

“Carbon dioxide is administered in growing rooms to promote plant health and increase plant yield during cultivation,” said Max Cohen, founder and CEO of the Clinic.

Not only will the recycled carbon dioxide save the Clinic money because they won’t have to purchase manufactured CO2, they won’t have to run their trucks in order to do so. The brewery says they will be able to recycle up to 150,000 pounds of carbon dioxide. 

This innovative Carbon Dioxide Reuse Project should get the ball rolling for this type of initiative, and the hope is that other breweries and retail cannabis locations will follow suit. This is the type of creative collaboration we need to see more of to keep the U.S. legal cannabis industry as green as possible. State lawmakers also created Colorado Cultivators Energy Management pilot, which will allow cannabis facilities and dispensaries to enlist the help of local electric cooperatives and utility companies in order to reduce their carbon footprint.

Regulations in most states have caused dispensaries to package their products for sale in what many consider excess plastic. Last fall, a Seattle dispensary launched a packaging recycling program to reduce waste.

This latest state program coincides with Governor Jared Polis’ goal of cutting greenhouse emissions in half in 10 years or less. In May of 2019, Governor Polis signed seven highly ambitious bills related to renewable energy, and he and his staff say they would like to see Colorado’s electric grid become fossil fuel-free by 2040. 

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