Long term planning for an agricultural plastics recycling program in Manitoba starts this fall

A multi-phased project aimed at developing a long-term, sustainable plan for managing agricultural plastic waste such as grain bags, bale and silage wrap and twine will begin this fall.

Manitoba Sustainable Development has asked Cleanfarms to lead this project which will include the expansion of a government-funded pilot project and stakeholder consultations. This will build into an implementation plan for a province-wide, industry-funded program in 2020.

Farmers currently have access to 19 collection sites through this pilot project and turned in over 61 metric tonnes of film and twine for recycling in 2016 and 2017. Collections are primarily offered through rural municipalities who strongly support this initiative that helps divert these materials from their landfills.

Manitoba’s ag plastic industry, growers and municipalities will be asked to provide input into a plan that will outline how ag plastics would be managed using extended producer responsibility, the model used to manage many of the province’s existing recycling programs. Cleanfarms will also engage with stakeholders across the Prairies to encourage harmonization.

The final phase of this work will provide recommendations for transitioning the pilots into a program that is regulated under Manitoba’s Packaging and Printed Paper Stewardship Regulation. This will provide farmers with increased access to collection sites and put appropriate measures in place to transfer financing to industry.

Cleanfarms currently operates Saskatchewan’s industry-funded grain bag recycling program, in addition to programs for empty pesticide and fertilizer containers and obsolete pesticide and animal health medications.

For more information or to join our distribution list, please email us.

Seed & pesticide bag micro-pilots now available in Moose Jaw

Farmers in the Moose Jaw region now have access to a Cleanfarms disposal program for empty seed and pesticide bags for the 2018 growing season.

Ontario and Quebec farmers have had access to a similar program since 2014. What started as a small-scale project with five sites has grown to an industry-funded, region-wide collection program. In 2017 alone, farmers returned almost 300,000 kilograms of bags.

Cleanfarms has had a number of inquiries from farmers, municipalities and industry about offering similar programming in Western Canada and we are now working with three ag-retailers in the Moose Jaw region to explore this.

This micro-pilot is only available to farmer-customers who use these three ag retailers. Customers will be provided with collection bags to hold their 22.5 kg (or smaller) seed and pesticide bags. Large one-tonne tote bags (supersacks) can be flattened and tied (with twine) in bundles of six or less.

In the near-term, the bags will be sent for energy recovery while other recycling options are explored.

We welcome the opportunity to connect with your account managers in the region to ensure this pilot best meets the needs of farmers in the area. Please email us to ensure that we have your local contacts on our mailing list.

We look forward to sharing our progress with the Canadian Seed Trade Association, seed companies and additional stakeholders as this work unfolds.

Good conversations at the SARM convention

Cleanfarms adds grain bag recycling to its suite of agricultural stewardship programs

Saskatchewan farmers will have access to another tool to help them farm sustainably and keep their yards clean as Cleanfarms’ permanent grain bag recycling program rolls out this year.

A government-funded pilot project has been available since 2011. Through this pilot, farmers have recycled over four million kilograms of ag plastic.

Farmers will see increased access through the launch of this permanent program. Clean, rolled grain bags will be accepted at collection sites at no charge. After the grain bags are collected and processed, they are recycled into new products, such as garbage bags.

Municipalities are keenly interested in participating as well. The recent approval of Cleanfarms’ Product Stewardship Program, which is regulated by The Agricultural Packaging Product Waste Stewardship Regulations, allows Cleanfarms to formalize arrangements with collection sites and grain bag companies.

Cleanfarms is aiming to have 20 collection sites in place this year with the long term goal of moving to 30 to 35 sites across the province.

“We’re proud to support growers in this new capacity and deliver a service that provides value to Saskatchewan farmers and their communities,” said Barry Friesen, general manager of Cleanfarms.

This requires input from and support of a variety of parties. Cleanfarms will be working closely with key stakeholders through its multi-stakeholder committee along with companies that sell or import grain bags into Saskatchewan.

Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Agriculture is continuing its long-standing support of this initiative by providing transitional funding to help Cleanfarms deliver this year’s program.

The program will transition to a fully industry-funded program in the fall of 2018. Farmers will see an Environmental Handling Fee of about $0.25 per kilogram applied to any grain bags purchased effective November 1, 2018.

A comprehensive communication and outreach plan will begin shortly to ensure that all stakeholders are kept informed of next steps and requirements.

Ag plastics feasibility study coming to Kawartha Lakes

Farmers in the Kawartha Lakes area will be asked to take part in an agricultural plastics survey this year.

Since 2009, the City of Kawartha Lakes has delivered a municipal bale wrap recycling program at two locations.

This study will provide another layer of support to local farmers. It will provide a thorough analysis of how ag plastics are currently being managed and help identify barriers and opportunities. Farmers who are interested in participating can contact Cori Crawford at crawfordc@cleanfarms.ca.

Kawartha Conservation and Cleanfarms are partnering on this project as part of joint efforts to support stewardship best practices and help keep agricultural communities clean.

Ontario farmers are keenly interested in diverting agricultural waste out of landfills and into stewardship programs. Good waste management goes hand in hand with agriculture’s commitment to a clean environment and natural resources for future generations.

Cleanfarms looks forward to sharing the result of this work with stakeholders within the Kawartha Lakes area and the surrounding regions. Email us to join our mailing list.

Funding for this program comes from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs through the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan.

For more information:

Cori Crawford



British Columbia farmers safely dispose of 24,300 kilograms of obsolete pesticides and livestock medications

Farmers in British Columbia returned 22,832 kilograms of obsolete and unwanted pesticides and 1,470 kilograms of livestock and equine medications through Cleanfarms’ obsolete collection campaign this past year.

The obsolete collection program is part of the plant science and animal health industry’s commitment to the responsible lifecycle management of their products.

Cleanfarms, which operates the program, is a national, industry-led agricultural waste stewardship organization. Collections took place at six participating ag-retail and municipal locations throughout the Vancouver Island and Fraser Valley regions of the province from October 3-19, 2017.

This marked the second time that a combined collection of pesticides and livestock medications has been offered in this region of British Columbia. Cleanfarms partnered with the Canadian Animal Health Institute (CAHI) to add the collection of livestock and equine medications to its existing obsolete pesticide collection program in 2014.

“The Canadian Animal Health Institute members are demonstrating their on-going commitment to safely managing animal medications throughout their lifecycle,” says Jean Szkotnicki, president of CAHI. “We are pleased to be able to continue partnering with Cleanfarms in providing a valued service to British Columbia’s livestock and equine community.”

British Columbia farmers have a long history of good stewardship practices and have been participating in the obsolete collections program since 1999, which is a testament to their environmental commitment. The program was previously available in British Columbia in 2014/2015 where more than 43,000 kilograms of product was collected province wide from farmers and safely disposed of.

“This year’s collection was a great success thanks to the commitment of British Columbia farmers and participating collection sites,” says Barry Friesen, general manager of Cleanfarms. “We’re proud to offer collection programs that ensure unwanted and obsolete pesticides, as well as livestock and equine medications, can be disposed of in an environmentally responsible way.”

The obsolete collection program is generally delivered in each province or region of the country every three years and comes at no cost to farmers. The program will be delivered in the Okanagan, Kootenay and Interior regions of the province in the fall of 2018. In between collections, farmers are encouraged to safely store their unwanted pesticides and livestock medications until they can properly dispose of them through the program.


For more information, please visit www.cleanfarms.ca.


For further information:

Maja Begovic, communications officer

(416) 622-4460 x2222 | media@cleanfarms.ca


Timmer’s Travels: My favourite ag moment of 2018!