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.