Understanding cannabis waste compliance in Missouri

Understanding cannabis waste compliance in Missouri


It has often been said that you can tell a lot about a person by looking through their trash. From issues with waste compliance to issues in the production line, much can be determined about a cannabis facility by its waste streams.

Lack of a complete understanding of the rules and regulations set forth by the Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services (DHSS) can lead to accidental mishandling of cannabis waste. Both operators and waste services alike are accountable for establishing and maintaining waste practices that ensure compliance.

Whether you are a currently licensed operator or are applying for a microbusiness facility license, understanding the nuances of Missouri’s cannabis waste regulations is imperative. Failure to do so may be the difference between keeping the lights on and possible license suspension.

The questions below highlight some commonly misunderstood pitfalls about cannabis waste compliance in Missouri. By being aware of these pitfalls, a facility can make sure it has compliant SOPs and waste practices so the lights stay on and licenses stay active.

The answers to these questions are derived from DHSS 19 CSR 30-95.

  1. Can I throw my cannabis waste in the trash?

No. An operator may not legally throw cannabis waste into a standard or conventional trash receptacle. Use of these types of receptacles for disposal of unrendered cannabis waste is not compliant with DHSS rules and regulations. Marijuana waste must be rendered unusable, and then delivered to a permitted solid waste facility for final disposal.

All facility waste of any type must be stored securely before final disposition. Secure storage can be done within the facility in areas designated for disposal activities, or if necessary, outside the facility in a locked, tamper-resistant receptacle.

It is important to note solid waste facilities are different for compostable and noncompostable mixed waste.

  1. Does cannabis waste need to be rendered prior to disposal?

Yes. Marijuana plant waste that does not qualify as hazardous must be rendered unusable prior to leaving a facility. Rendered waste must consist of ground plant waste mixed with other non-hazardous ground materials. The resulting mixture must be at least fifty percent (50%) non-cannabis waste by volume.


Material used to grind with the marijuana may be either compostable waste or non-compostable waste.

  1. What does “rendered unusable” mean when rendering and disposing of cannabis waste in Missouri?

To meet the standard for being rendered unusable, marijuana waste needs to be ground and mixed with other non-hazardous ground materials so the resulting mixture is at least fifty percent (50%) non-marijuana waste by volume. Non-marijuana waste includes food waste, yard waste, vegetable-based grease or oils, paper waste, cardboard, plastic waste, or soil.

Cannabis waste after being rendered unusable
  1. Are root balls and growing medium considered cannabis waste?

Because the rules have recently changed, and because cannabis can be grown in a variety of mediums from coco coir to rockwool cubes to just dirt, the recommendation is to contact a cannabis waste disposal service for more information about handling and disposal of growing medium and root balls.

  1. Can Monarch Waste help keep my facility compliant with cannabis waste regulations?

Yes. Monarch Waste is proud to be Missouri’s 1st fully compliant cannabis waste service. To date, Monarch’s waste plans have had a 100% commencement approval rate in Missouri’s medical cannabis market.

Monarch Waste is also proud to be sustainable. In addition to its focus on compliance, Monarch has demonstrated a commitment to sustainability by diverting over 100,000 pounds of cannabis waste from Missouri landfills in the last year alone.

For additional information about cannabis waste compliance in Missouri, to request a waste plan for your microbusiness facility, or to get a free quote for cannabis waste pickup contact Monarch Waste.


Zach McCullough | Co-Owner of Monarch Waste Co.
Monarch Waste is proud to be Missouri’s 1st cannabis waste service. We are also proud to be sustainable. Through strategic partnerships with like-minded brands, Monarch Waste Co. is taking the lead to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Missouri’s cannabis industry. Our clients agree — cannabis can be green!