ETOBICOKE, Ontario (June 4, 2021) – Farmers in Bruce County are playing a crucial role in a network of farmers from BC to PEI who are working with Cleanfarms in various pilot projects to help develop a leading-edge zero plastic waste strategy for Canadian agriculture.
Participants in these pilots are farmers/producers who operate farms involving livestock where livestock feed such as hay and silage is used. This feed needs to be wrapped and stored, often for months, requiring tonnes of ag plastics such as baler twine, silage bags, bunker covers and bale wrap.
The most common practice across the country is to landfill the plastic or discard it on the farm.
“The common thread linking the participating farmers in Bruce County with the others in pilots across Canada is a desire to manage these materials when they are no longer needed. Used ag plastics can be hard to deal with on the farm yet we know farmers welcome solutions for managing these materials in environmentally responsible ways,” said Cleanfarms Executive Director, Barry Friesen. “The objective of our pilot programs is to work with farmers to identify and develop efficient systems to recover these materials so they are recycled, fueling the Canadian circular economy.”
Cleanfarms is a national industry stewardship organization that develops and operates programs to collect and recycle waste agricultural plastics giving farmers more opportunities to be stewards of their land for their own farm communities and for next generations. These programs also help farmers keep their operations clean and tidy.
Ag plastics like most plastic products and packaging can be recycled into new products. The challenges are two-fold: how to store it on the farm until it can be taken to recycling collection sites and ensuring stable recycling end markets that want the materials as feedstock for new plastic products.
Ag plastic is used to make new products such as farm drainage tile, flexible irrigation pipe and plastic bags.
As part of the three-year pilot project that is launching next week in Bruce County, Cleanfarms is giving farmers an essential tool in the way of large plastic collection bags. Farmers are encouraged to place each material type – twine, bale wrap or bunker covers – in separate collection bags, tie them shut, then transport them to a recycling collection location. The plastic bags will hold up to 15 kg of material. The collection bag program is open to everyone who uses this material in Bruce County.
Collection bags are available from any of four participating municipal pilot collection sites:
- Eastnor Waste Disposal Site, 1252 West Road, Lion’s Head
- Arran Landfill, 671 Sideroad 20 Arran, Tara
- Brant Landfill, 57 Concession Road 8, Elmwood (Brockton residents)
- Greenock Landfill, 564 Concession 10, Chepstow (Brockton residents)
In a separate part of the pilot in Bruce County, Cleanfarms is providing an ag plastic press to four farm locations. The press enables farmers to compress between 200 and 250 loose plastic silage and bale wrap into dense bales weighing an average of 450 kg. Farmers who use the ag press report positive results noting it is easier to handle the plastic, the plastic stays cleaner and therefore more recyclable, and the press saves time. For example, on-farm presses reduced the number of trips farmers have to make to the collection locations. Pre-baled plastic also helped reduce transportation costs.
The Cleanfarms pilots across the country are funded in part by the Government of Canada through Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Canadian Agricultural Strategic Priorities Program (CASPP). The government is investing $50.3 million over five years in a number of projects to help the agricultural sector adapt and remain competitive.
Netting is not accepted in this Cleanfarms collection program.
Learn more at this Cleanfarms webpage.
Cleanfarms is an agricultural industry stewardship organization that contributes to a healthier environment and a sustainable future by recovering and recycling agricultural and related industry plastics, packaging and products. It is funded by its members in the crop protection, fertilizer, seed, animal health medication, bale wrap and grain bag industries. It has staff located in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan; Lethbridge, Alberta; Etobicoke, Ontario; and St-Bruno, Quebec.
Contact: Barbara McConnell, Cleanfarms Media