Cleanfarms Collecting Agricultural Baler Twine in PEI for Recycling

Cleanfarms and Island Waste Management Corporation have launched a pilot project enabling PEI farmers to recycle used agricultural baler twine. – Cleanfarms photo

ETOBICOKE, Ontario (June 8, 2021) – PEI farmers produce an estimated 66 tonnes of used agricultural baler twine annually, according to a Cleanfarms study. Until recently, recycling programs to manage this material when it was no longer needed were not available. But that has changed.

Under a new Cleanfarms project launched in partnership with the Island Waste Management Corporation (IWMC), farmers can now recycle their used agricultural baler twine, and in the process, advance their farm sustainability goals.

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.

“By making it possible for PEI farmers to recycle used baler twine, we are helping them keep their farms clean and free of waste ag plastic materials. What’s more, we’re feeding the circular economy by retaining the value of these natural resources and reinvesting it to make new products. It’s a welcome outcome for everyone,” said Barry Friesen, Cleanfarms executive director.

The collection sites are located at six facilities around the province that already collect waste plastic bale wrap from farmers under an IWMC program. Under that existing agreement, Cleanfarms picks up the collected waste ag bale wrap and transports it to North American recycling facilities.

“PEI has a strong commitment to waste management programs that recover waste materials for recycling. IWMC welcomes this new partnership opportunity to work with Cleanfarms to expand recycling options for farmers. Keeping waste ag plastics like used baler twine out of our landfills is another step toward a more effective waste management program in our province,” said Karen MacDonald, IWMC Chief Executive Officer.

Used baler twine not only takes up space in landfill sites, it also can be particularly troublesome because it can wrap around and cause damage to landfill equipment.

“The PEI Federation of Agriculture is eager to see the implementation of a baler twine collection pilot project on PEI,” said PEIFA President Ron Maynard. “This initiative gives Island farmers a new way to demonstrate their commitment to environmental sustainability, and we hope that it will become a permanent and efficient way to recycle a much needed farm input.”

In provinces throughout the country, Cleanfarms operates permanent programs that collect and recycle pesticide and fertilizer small and large containers, seed and pesticide bags in eastern Canada, and large grain storage bags that are used primarily on the Prairies. In addition to the recycling programs, Cleanfarms collects unwanted pesticides and old, obsolete livestock/equine medications for safe disposal in a program that rotates into regions of Canada every three years.

PEI joins Quebec, Saskatchewan, Ontario and British Columbia in collecting baler twine in a series of pilots that Cleanfarms is operating across Canada this year to expand collection of used ag plastics from farms.

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.

“We are excited that this PEI twine pilot is the first Cleanfarms CASPP project to take place in Atlantic Canada. It’s an important inaugural step for Cleanfarms, for IWMC and for PEI farmers because until now, there has been no recycling option for this vital farm operation tool,” Friesen said.

Details for Recycling

To participate in the program, farmers will be asked to get a Cleanfarms recycling bag from their ag retailer or an IWMC collection site. There is no charge for the bag. After shaking to remove as much debris as possible, farmers place the loose twine in the recycling bag, secure the top of the bag tightly with twine or a zip tie and poke a few small holes in the bottom to drain any water. The bags make the twine easier to contain, transport and keep clean. Farmers drop off the bags at a local twine recycling collection site at no charge. Netting is not accepted in this collection program.

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Contact: Barbara McConnell, Cleanfarms Media

Karen MacDonald, IWMC Chief Executive Officer, Island Waste Management Corporation