CBC Saskatoon talks to Barry Friesen

The following article was written by Eric Anderson for CBC News

Company recycling pesticide and fertilizer containers takes aim at Sask. farms

Barry Friesen wants Saskatchewan farms to be as green as possible, and he’s spreading his message this week at the Farm Progress Show in Regina.

Friesen is the general manager of CleanFARMS, a not-for-profit company from Ontario that specializes in managing agricultural waste.

“We collect both pesticide and fertilizer containers for recycling and we also have an obsolete pesticide and animal health mitigation collection program,” Friesen explained.

The CleanFARMS programs works by having farmers return their obsolete chemicals, which they no longer use, to designated drop-off locations. The company then safely disposes of the products, free of charge.

Friesen sees the company filling an important need.

“Farmers are great hoarders, so to speak. They want to use everything they have and they don’t want to give it away. You find that after a few — maybe even 10 or 15 years — they have this stuff in their back shed that they were going to use but they find out that it’s something that they can’t use. So they want to get rid of it.”

The company gives instructions to those farmers who are returning old containers. (Twitter)

Listening to farmers

It seems Saskatchewan farmers are making the most of this program. In 2015, 90 tonnes of material was returned to drop-off locations throughout the province. In the past two years, the total has grown to 182 tonnes.

The waste is destroyed through high temperature incineration.

Friesen is hoping CleanFARMS — which is funded by farm chemical manufacturers — can improve its business by speaking with Saskatchewan farmers this week in Regina.

“It’s interesting to hear more from farmers and what their needs are. How farming practices are changing, and how we can evolve to better meet their needs.”