Single Use Plastics Bans Not Targeting Ag-plastics: Cleanfarms

Moose Jaw—This week’s federal government announcement on the ban of some single use plastics by 2021 have left many Canadian farmers wondering if single use plastics for agricultural products such as grain bags, pesticide and fertilizer jugs and seed bags are included.

Cleanfarms, the national organization that operates programs throughout the country to collect empty and used agricultural plastics for recycling and proper disposal says farm plastic products such as grain bags and packaging like jugs and bags are not on the list of single use plastics targeted for bans.

Cleanfarms General Manager Barry Friesen says that even though farm plastic waste will not be affected by bans the impact could see increases in regulations for agricultural products through government industry responsibility programs.

“For example, in Saskatchewan, grain bag recycling is now required under a provincially-regulated industry stewardship program,” Friesen says. “To cover the cost of recycling the bags, which weigh hundreds of kilograms, an environmental handling fee is applied at purchase. Like the fee on the electronics that we’ve had for years, purchasers of grain bags, in this case Saskatchewan farmers, pay the handling fee when they buy or import grain bags.”

The Saskatchewan grain bag handling fee, the first of its kind in the Canadian agricultural industry, has been in place since November 2018. Saskatchewan farmers who use grain bags for storage will see it on sales receipts as they purchase grain bags for the coming harvest. The fee is 25 cents a kilogram which can amount to about $31 on a 9-foot by 200-foot grain bag that can cost several hundred dollars.

“The ban on single use plastics the government proposed this week largely focuses on residential packaging and products. But governments are also concerned about overall waste reduction and diversion to help reduce plastic litter, landfills and the carbon footprint of packaging of all types. This means that non-durable products and packaging that don’t currently have programs or that have low recycling recovery rates may be regulated down the road,” Friesen says.

Cleanfarms is a not-for-profit stewardship organization established 10 years ago to manage agricultural plastic and other wastes generated on farms across Canada. Cleanfarms has developed a series of successful programs to recover and recycle or properly dispose of plastic ag waste. It continually looks for opportunities to expand existing programs and create new ones that incorporate all agricultural single use plastics to help keep Canadian farm communities clean and environmentally healthy.



Barbara McConnell, Cleanfarms Media

Alberta Agricultural Recycling Group Names Cleanfarms as Recycling Pilot Program Operator

Calgary, AB – The Agricultural Plastics Recycling Group (APRG) through the Alberta Beef Producers (ABP) announced that they have selected Cleanfarms as the program operator for a three-year pilot program to collect agricultural grain bags and twine for recycling.

Cleanfarms was successful in meeting the qualifications set out in an expression of interest for the provincial program. Cleanfarms will handle program logistics including collection and transportation to recycle the materials. Other responsibilities include market research for all types of agricultural plastics, a waste characterization study to determine plastic volumes and materials, surveys to producers, and education about the program. Cleanfarms is a Canadian non-profit organization that delivers recycling and disposal solutions that help farmers and their communities safely manage farm waste. 

The success of Cleanfarms’ programs highlights the commitment of farmers, manufacturers, retailers, distributors, municipalities, and provinces to agricultural environmental responsibility and sustainability. Cleanfarms draws on over 30 years of experience implementing programs to collect and divert agricultural waste from landfills, waterways, and on-farm burning.

“We look forward to our engagement with Cleanfarms as an experienced leader in agricultural plastics recycling,” stated Al Kemmere, APRG Chair. “We have had an extremely positive response from municipalities across the province who want to participate in this program. Our next step will be to engage those groups to determine the site locations with the goal to start material collection by early Fall.”

The program was announced on January 21, 2019 with funding from Alberta Agriculture and Forestry to establish an environmentally sustainable program to recycle agricultural plastics.

“Our team is keen to be involved in these pilots. Our experience working with hundreds of collection sites across the Prairies from retailers to municipalities, combined with the insight the APRG offers will help build a made-in-Alberta recycling program that provides producers with an efficient and convenient recycling program,” said Barry Friesen, general manager of Cleanfarms.

Funds for the pilot project were granted by the Government of Alberta and are administered by Alberta Beef Producers.

About the Agricultural Plastics Recycling Group

The APRG is a group made up of over 20 stakeholder organizations from sectors across the province representing municipalities, producers, non-profits, recyclers and retailers among others. For a full list of members and more details please visit


Al Kemmere APRG Chairman and RMA President

About ABP

Alberta Beef Producers (ABP) is the democratic and representative organization that speaks and works on behalf of close to 18,000 cattle and beef producers in Alberta.  It is an organization of producers, run by producers, working for producers in all sectors of the cattle and beef industry and all areas of the province.  The mission of ABP is to strengthen the sustainability and competitiveness of the beef industry for the benefit of beef producers in Alberta.

Rich Smith, Executive Director
(403) 451-1183

About Cleanfarms

Cleanfarms is a Canadian non-profit industry stewardship organization committed to environmental responsibility through the proper management of agricultural packaging and product waste. Emulated internationally, Cleanfarms develops, implements and operates:

  • Canada-wide programs that collect and recycle empty, single-use pesticide and fertilizer containers, and collect and safely manage unwanted pesticide and old livestock medications;
  • seed and pesticide bag collection programs in eastern Canada with pilots in western Canada; and
  • a regulated grain bag recycling program in Saskatchewan.

Recovered agricultural plastics are recycled into new products such as farm drainage tile, flexible irrigation pipe and garbage bags.

For more information, visit

Barry Friesen, P.Eng., General Manager
416 622 4460 x 2230


We hear you: Canadian farmers want to recycle more!