Industry developing solutions to manage agricultural waste plastics in Saskatchewan

January 16, 2012 – The Government of Saskatchewan has partnered with Cleanfarms to develop an appropriate way to manage on-farm plastic waste, such as bale wrap and grain bags, in an effort to reduce the environmental footprint of farming in the province.

As it currently stands, there are either limited or no recycling options for many agricultural plastic waste products in Saskatchewan.

“We know that farmers are more than willing to participate in stewardship programs where they exist; they want to do the right thing. Cleanfarms currently operates a national empty pesticide container recycling program and an obsolete pesticide collection program, both of which have very high participation rates,” says Barry Friesen, general manager of Cleanfarms.

The challenge Prairie farmers have managing their plastic grain bags has been well documented as of late.

“We are pleased to see industry, government and the broader stakeholder community work together to develop a recycling program for farmers,” Saskatchewan Environment Minister Dustin Duncan said.

Cleanfarms recently did a study of the agricultural waste stewardship programs in the province. The research revealed that the most successful programs had government legislation mandating participation such as those to manage used oil, oil filters and their containers, tires, paint and electronics.

The Government of Saskatchewan has tasked Cleanfarms with bringing together stakeholders to develop the framework for a program to recycle agricultural plastics such as bale wrap, twine and grain bags.

“Saskatchewan is an innovative province that is well positioned to become a leader in agricultural plastics recycling,” says Friesen. “In many cases, the technology is already in place. Bridon Corage, a highly successful twine manufacturer with a plant in the province, is currently making new twine out of used twine.”

Cleanfarms led a consultation with industry stakeholders today, which will help guide its work going forward. Its recommendations on a potential program structure will be ready for the Ministry of Environment by early spring of this year.

About Cleanfarms

Cleanfarms is one of Canada’s leading agricultural waste management organizations. It currently operates a national empty pesticide container collection program and an obsolete pesticide collection campaign. To learn more, visit

Cleanfarms to develop program to manage agricultural plastic waste in Ontario

Jan 5 , 2012 – A new service for farmers who want to safely get rid of plastic agricultural waste, including bale wrap, will be piloted in 2012 in the Lake Simcoe watershed by Cleanfarms, a national, industry-led stewardship organization.

“This pilot project will lay the groundwork for a comprehensive program to responsibly manage all agricultural waste plastic across the province,” says Barry Friesen, general manager of Cleanfarms.

According to recent research conducted by Cleanfarms, farmers in Ontario generate more than 14,000 tonnes of non-nutrient based waste on their farms each year.

While there are stewardship programs in place for some agricultural waste products, there are many products for which no recycling options exist.

“Farmers don’t want to burn waste or send it to landfills but it’s difficult for them to be good stewards when there aren’t programs in place to help them,” says Friesen. “Where there are programs in place, farmers overwhelmingly choose to participate. The success of Cleanfarms’ empty pesticide container recycling program is a prime example.”

The pilot program in Lake Simcoe is being funded by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

“I congratulate the folks at Cleanfarms for working with us to pilot this service that will help farmers better protect our environment,” said Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Ted McMeekin.

Cleanfarms’ empty pesticide container recycling program has been in operation since 1989 and its obsolete pesticide collection program began in 1998. Both have earned a reputation for being among the best agricultural stewardship programs in the world.

Funding for this program comes from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs through the Canada-Ontario Agreement Respecting the Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem. The Canadian Animal Health Institute and industry have pledged additional cash and in-kind contributions.