Grain Bag Recycling Environmental Handling Fee Starts Thursday, Nov. 1

MOOSE JAW, SK – Saskatchewan farmers who purchase large plastic bags for grain storage will see a change when they buy bags after next Thursday, November 1. That’s when Saskatchewan’s new province-wide grain bag recycling program’s Environment Handling Fee (EHF) becomes effective.

The non-refundable EHF of 25 cents per kilogram will be added to the price of the bag based on weight and size. On a bag that is approximately 125 kg, the EHF would start at about $31 and increase proportional to the total weight of the plastic in the bag.

Most grain bag users won’t be buying bags at this time of year but will see the EHF when they purchase bags for 2019 storage.

The calculation of the EHF is based on a six-year pilot recycling program initiated by the provincial government. The government-funded pilot was operated by Simply Agriculture Solutions. Over that time, more than 3,600 tonnes of grain bags were recovered for recycling.

In July 2016, the province created The Agricultural Packaging Product Waste Stewardship Regulation establishing a regulated recycling program for grain bags similar to Canadian stewardship programs for tires, electronics, paint and oil containers. Like those, the Saskatchewan grain bag recycling program transfers financial responsibility for proper end-of-life management to businesses that supply grain bags into the market. A farmer who imports grain bags from outside of the province also falls under the same obligation.

The purpose of the recycling program is to offer farmers a responsible option for returning these single-use, large, heavy bags for recycling. End markets in North America and Malaysia shred, wash and pelletize the plastic and sell it to manufacturers who make products such as plastic garbage bags.

Rolled grain bag ready to be shipped to recycling end-market

The EHF will be used to cover the cost of collecting the bags at designated collection sites, transporting them to end markets and administration, after deducting end-market revenues.

Cleanfarms, a not-for-profit industry stewardship organization with extensive experience in recovering agricultural plastics across Canada began administering the program when it evolved from the pilot to a permanent program. With funding assistance for the 2018 program provided, in part, by Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Agriculture through the federal-provincial Growing Forward 2 initiative, it has established more than 20 collection sites throughout the province where there is heavy grain bag use. It will add 15 collection locations in 2019.

“We know Saskatchewan farmers want to do the right thing for their land and communities, and that they’re prepared to recycle their grain bags. Since the permanent program began, we’ve shipped more than 800 tonnes of grain bags to end markets with that much or more already collected and ready to be shipped out soon. That represents thousands of grain bags that will be recycled into new products as opposed to disintegrating on farm fields or buried in landfill,” said Cleanfarms General Manager Barry Friesen.

Estimates suggest that 15,000 to 20,000 grain bags are used in Saskatchewan every year.


For media contact:
Barbara McConnell
P. 877-622-4460 ext. 4

For program information contact: 
Tammy Shields
306 341 4460

Hosting a Zero Waste Dinner for 100,000

Cleanfarms’ seed & pesticide bag collection micro-pilots: another first for Moose Jaw farmers and ag-retailers

From May to September 2018, farmers in the Moose Jaw area turned in approximately 600 kilograms of bags through three ag-retailers: Hawks Agro, Nutrien Ag Solutions and Prairie Plains Agro. Farmers were provided with plastic collection bags, which held smaller seed and pesticide bags. The larger tote bags (supersacks) were flattened and tied together in bundles of six or less. (Photos on the page show what it looks like.)

Waste characterization studies were then performed to help identify the types, weights and brands of bags that were brought in for disposal. The bags will now be disposed of through waste to energy recovery.

The response from farmers, retailers and industry was very positive. The most common question came from stakeholders outside of the project area asking when the program would be available closer to their farms.

As Cleanfarms wraps up the 2018 micro pilots, plans are underway to expand the program to a wider area in southwest Saskatchewan and in select areas of Alberta and Manitoba.

These micro-pilots are an extension of Cleanfarms’ industry-funded, Eastern Canadian seed & pesticide bag collection program which has become an important component of end of life stewardship for industry and farmers.

Want to learn more?

Stop by the Cleanfarms booth at the Canadian Seed Trade Association’s Semi-Annual Meeting in Ottawa.

Email us to join our mailing list.

Cleanfarms Named Canada Clean50 Winner for Programs that Increase Sustainability on Canadian Farms

Cleanfarms Inc. has been named a Canada’s 2019 Clean50 Top Project in recognition of its progressive, innovative and unique programs that promote environmental sustainability through the proper management of agricultural waste in Canada’s farm communities.

Clean50 (, managed by Delta Management and sponsored by a number of leading companies including the Globe and Mail, screened more than 600 submissions for the 2019 awards program. It aims to recognize champions from the business and non-profit sector that demonstrate innovative approaches and achieve measurable success in environmental responsibility and improvement over the past two years.

At a summit held September 28 attended by Clean50 award recipients and past winners, Cleanfarms won second place in a vote for top place among the five leading winning submissions. The Cleanfarms award highlights just three out of the many programs that the organization operates, including a logistically-challenging program to collect the myriad of large, non-refillable containers from farms across the prairies. With the success of this single, cohesive system, the program has since been rolled out countrywide. Without these programs, the agricultural waste collected such as plastic containers for pesticides and fertilizer under 23Ls; bulk containers larger than 23Ls; grain bags; seed and pesticide bags; and unwanted pesticides and livestock medications might be buried or burned on farms or disposed of unsafely in landfill.

“There are many specialized waste materials generated every day in Canadian farm operations and our job is to make sure these materials come back to the circular economy for infinite recycling or are disposed of safely,” says Barry Friesen, General Manager of Cleanfarms. “We work with farmers and the agricultural community to provide opportunities that enable growers to choose recycling and other safe disposal programs over other disposal options.”

The Clean50 award recognizes the inspiration, innovation and the impact of the work that Cleanfarms’ team brings to establishing new solutions to manage and minimize waste from Canadian farms.

Included in the Clean50 submission was a Cleanfarms’ seed and pesticide bag recovery program that expanded from the Maritimes through Quebec and Ontario, developing a network to recover thousands of bags for recycling and management in waste-to-energy systems. Another project focused on expanding a Manitoba pilot to recover and recycle twine and agricultural film from agricultural operations province wide though a network of municipal collection sites.

The impacts of these three programs show outstanding progress with recovery of nearly 79,000 bulk containers; 924,000 kg of seed and pesticide bags; and 75,000 kg of agricultural film and twine in the last  two-years alone.

“This is absolutely a team effort,” says Friesen. “Our staff is inspired by the commitment of Canadian farmers to sustainable and environmentally responsible practices of producing food for families worldwide. It is our privilege to work with industry members to provide opportunities to offer options for cost effective recycling and safe disposal programs to help keep Canadian farms clean.”

For further information: Barbara McConnell, Cleanfarms Communications,, 416-452-2373