how to recycle cannabis containers and pens

How (and Where) to Recycle Cannabis Containers & Old Vape Pens


Keep Boulder Beautiful: Repurpose or Recycle Used Cannabis Jars & Vapes

How often do you recycle cannabis containers?

Do you toss them in with the rest of the recycling or just throw them out with the trash? Maybe you have a drawer or bag full of empty, child-proof containers, but you haven’t gotten around to repurposing them.

In an effort to save the planet (and restore your storage space), let’s look at Colorado-approved ways to recycle cannabis containers, old vape pens, cartridges, and vape batteries.

We’ll then offer a few practical ways you can reuse old glass and plastic containers at home.


Recycle Cannabis Containers: Bud & Oil Jars (< 2 minutes)

Recycling marijuana containers and oil jars doesn’t have to be difficult.

1. Look at the bottom of the cannabis container

For plastic containers, you should see a small recycling symbol with a #5 on the inside.

For glass jars, you may not always see a recycling number. Don’t worry—these should all be recyclable (that includes glass cartridges, syringes, and dab jars).  

Wherever you live, placing old containers directly in the recycling bin is better than the alternative of throwing them in the trash can. But, not all recycling facilities are equipped to sort #5 plastics (also known as polypropylene). And including these containers with the rest of your recycling can mess up your local facility’s machines.

2. Find a nearby facility that can sort #5 plastic

If you live in Boulder and use the Boulder County Recycling Center, this step is super easy. You can place all of your old plastic weed containers and glass jars directly in with the rest of your recycling for curbside pickup. No fuss. No muss.

3. Rinse old containers

Don’t worry about removing labels, but you should rinse out old plastic and glass jars with clean water before recycling.

4. Reattach plastic lids, remove metal ones

Thick plastic lids like you find on many marijuana containers can be reattached before recycling. Metal lids, on the other hand, should be removed from glass jars and left loose.

Learn more about Boulder County recycling guidelines.

Recycle Old or Disposable Vape Pens (< 5 minutes)

Even the best, most durable vape pens won’t last forever. And with the introduction of disposable vape pens, the potential for vape waste has been on the climb.

So how can you be a responsible, environmentally conscious vaper?

While you can’t throw vape pens and batteries into the recycling for curbside pickup, they can still be recycled through the right facilities.

The easiest way to ensure your old vape pens and batteries are disposed of properly is to bring them to your local Hazardous Materials Management Facility (HMMF).

Boulder, CO Location: 1901 63rd Street, behind the Boulder County Recycling Center
Hours: Wed-Sat, 8:30 a.m.-4:00 p.m.

If the HMMF is too far, you can search “battery recycling near me” in your Google search bar for a list of locations that typically accept batteries for recycling (like Battery Plus Bulbs).

We recommend calling the location before driving there to ensure they accept the materials you have (and what condition they need to be in).

How to Use Old Containers (If You Can’t/Don’t Recycle)

If you don’t have access to recycling services, you still have better options than throwing old containers and pens in the trash.

Home Storage

From lighters and dab tools to vitamins or loose change, the only limit to what you can put in old cannabis containers is your imagination. Well, that and the size of the container.

Here are a few of our favorite options for plastic containers:

  • Keep loose change secure
  • Store lighters and/or dab tools
  • Hold pens, pencils, paperclips and office supplies
  • Store and organize cords (phone charger, headphones, micro-USB, etc)
  • Keep keys organized (leave the labels on or add your own so you always grab the right keys)
  • Odor-resistant storage for a one-hitter or small bowl between uses

Even smaller glass dab jars have tons of practical uses after a quick cleaning:

  • Fill with chapstick or moisturizer
  • Store herbs and dry teas (perfect when you’re on-the-go!)
  • Pack a single-serving of salad dressing in your lunch
  • Load with paint or glitter for creative projects

If using storage containers for storage isn’t exciting enough, then it’s time to gather your old jars and put on your designer hat.


Small jars don’t sound particularly decorative. But with a little creativity, old jars can give your home or office a pop of personality.

  • Use a glass jar as a small candle votive
  • Remove the bottom of plastic containers and make one cut from top to bottom for a simple cord organizer
  • Use plastic containers as a small pot for plants (make sure you poke holes in the bottom for the water to drain, and choose a plant that doesn’t need much water or space to grow… like a cactus)
  • Add glow-in-the-dark paint to empty glass jars for a splash of color in the bathroom or the kitchen
  • Create pixel art: arrange glass jars and plastic bottles in a pattern to create a larger image

There are tons of creative ways you can put old containers to use in your home.

But what can you do if recycling isn’t an option and you don’t care to reuse your old weed containers at home?

Donate to a Charity or Local Business

Many charities and local businesses can put empty, sanitized childproof containers to good use. Here’s how you can go about donating old childproof containers and cannabis oil jars.

  1. Soak the weed jars in warm, soapy water for about 5-10 minutes then peel off the label.
  2. Use an abrasive pad or small brush (a toothbrush works great!) to clean off any cannabis, hash oil, and label residue. You’ll need to clean the inside, outside, and lid as well.
  3. Rinse the containers and lids in fresh, cold water and set them aside to air dry.
  4. While the containers are drying, start contacting potential charities and businesses.

Local pharmacies and community wellness centers may already have a system in place to recycle or properly dispose of polypropylene.

Similarly, some animal shelters are able to repurpose sanitized childproof containers for animal prescriptions.

Free clinics and homeless shelters can also find themselves in need of empty bottles they can use for medication. Make sure the containers have been cleaned and sanitized, though… the goal is to help, not give volunteers another to-do.

If you aren’t having any luck, contact local craft groups and community-based art organizations. Limited funding can make it hard for these organizations to get the supplies they need, and empty containers can go a long way in holding paint, beads, and creating new works of art.

Call each organization before bringing your old containers to make sure they can and will accept them.

What’s your favorite way to reuse cannabis containers? Let us know in the comments.

Let the Cannabis Container Cleanout Commence!

Without the environment, there would be no marijuana. No THC, CBD, edibles or cannabis oil.

Join us in our quest to keep Colorado clean by recycling used cannabis containers, jars, vape pens, and batteries instead of throwing them in the trash.

And stop by Karing Kind recreational marijuana dispensary in North Boulder (pre-order online) to pick up a gram of bud or CO2 oil . Our products are grown and extracted using energy-efficient technology, and we are committed to investing in community projects and doing our part to keep Boulder beautiful.

Karing Kind is located just off of US-36, one mile north of Broadway, open MON-SUN from 9am to 10pm.

We carry a variety of strains, concentrates, edibles, salves and tinctures, and our inventory and stock levels fluctuate from week to week and month to month. Browse our best-in-Boulder menu and follow us on Twitter for an up-to-date list of available edibles, concentrates and strains.