The Saskatchewan government announced a new program Friday to recycle plastic grain bags – the first of its kind in Canada.
The province has partnered with Cleanfarms to offer recycling options of plastic grain bags in an effort to reduce waste and provide a more environmentally-friendly option for farmers. The new program follows a successful multi-year pilot project which saw more than 4,200 metric tonnes recycled, the equivalent of about 28,000 plastic grain bags.
Starting in November, producers will be charged a fee of 25 cents per kilogram to recycle the grain bags under the new program.
Friday’s announcement is being applauded by agricultural groups who say farmers have been looking for recycling options. Recycling is a better option than burying the bags or burning them, which releases toxic chemicals into the air.
“People really want to do the right thing, and I think Saskatchewan producers have shown over time that they’re pretty good stewards of the land,” Todd Lewis, president of the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan, told paNOW. “I think that the partnership that the province and Cleanfarms have, I think it’s a good model.”
The new program will see up to 20 new collection sites set up across Saskatchewan in 2018. Additional sites are planned for 2019.
Tammy Shields, the western regional coordinator with Cleanfarms, told paNOW the new recycling option will be a key service for producers. Cleanfarms is a national organization that looks to provide end-of-use options for the agricultural industry, including plastics, obsolete chemicals and animal health products.
Shields said collection sites are already available just South of Prince Albert at the Conservation Learning Centre, and in various other locations including Garrick, Humboldt, Speers, Melfort, Saskatoon and a number of rural municipalities. Cleanfarms is hoping similar recycling programs will eventually be launched across the prairies.
“This is going to be a great transition year in 2018 (and) I think producers in Saskatchewan are really embracing this program and this option,” Shields added.
Alberta and Manitoba are currently conducting pilot programs around plastic waste disposal, Shields added.
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