Cleanfarms Recycling ‘Open for Business’ in Saskatchewan to Support Producers Who Use Grain Bags

Empty grain bags rolled and ready for recycling.

MOOSE JAW, Saskatchewan (October 29, 2021)—As the harvest season draws to a close, Cleanfarms would like to remind producers who are emptying grain bags this fall or cleaning out from previous years that its grain bag recycling collection sites are fully open across the province and ready for producers to bring their used ag plastics in for recycling.

While the growing season has been challenging in many ways, Cleanfarms reports that so far this year, producers have returned more than 2,055 tonnes of grain bags for recycling. With nine weeks left in the year, Cleanfarms says Saskatchewan producers may even close the gap to matching the 2,536 tonnes collected for recycling in 2020.

Forty-four collection sites across Saskatchewan from Meadow Lake in the northwest to Carievale in the southeast are set up to receive used, rolled grain bags, including a number of new locations that are now open for producers around Regina, Biggar, and Preeceville.

The new sites make it more convenient for many Saskatchewan producers to get to a collection location. Some collection sites also have grain bag rollers available to enable producers to prepare the bags on site for recycling.

“Our network of collections sites, along with the logistics, loading, shipping and program management are all Saskatchewan-based which adds to the local economy while at the same time, doing the important job of collecting used plastics for recycling. Not only does the Cleanfarms recycling program keep the used plastics out of the environment, it fuels the circular economy so the plastic is used again,” said Cleanfarms Executive Director Barry Friesen.

Recycled grain bags are used to make new products such as plastic construction sheet products and industrial garbage bags.

Grain bag recycling in Saskatchewan was a first-of-its-kind agricultural recycling program established under the province’s Agricultural Packaging Product Waste Stewardship Regulations (2016)

Note – if the link doesn’t work, please copy this URL into your browser: http://www.publications.gov.sk.ca/freelaw/documents/English/Regulations/Regulations/E10-22R4.pdf

When it got underway in 2018, it was the only government-regulated extended producer responsibility program of its kind in Canada. Now Manitoba is set up to recover grain bags and baler twine and Cleanfarms is operating pilots to collect information on recovery patterns in Alberta.

Collecting used grain bags in Saskatchewan is growing year over year. In 2018, Cleanfarms recovered 1,257 tonnes or grain bags. In 2020, Saskatchewan farmers doubled this, returning 2,536 tonnes of grain bags for recycling.

Cleanfarms’ research estimates that Canadian farmers use nearly 62,000 tonnes of ag plastic products and packaging annually. More than half of that, about 53%, is generated in the Prairie provinces.

“This program has progressed significantly over the past four years. Our collection rate in Saskatchewan in 2020 represent 63% of the material that was available. We have Saskatchewan producers to thank for that along with our 44 collection partners,” said Friesen. “We are very grateful they are continuing to participate so enthusiastically in this recycling program.”

Cleanfarms is an industry stewardship organization that fulfills the commitment of its industry members to manage their products and packaging when farmers are finished with them. The other programs are:

  • a nation-wide recycling program for small pesticide and fertilizer containers/jugs
  • a nation-wide recycling program for large non-deposit plastic totes and drums for pesticides and fertilizers
  • a nation-wide collection and proper disposal program for unwanted pesticides and old, obsolete livestock and equine medications
  • a disposal program for seed and pesticide bags in eastern Canada and fertilizer bags in Quebec.

Cleanfarms is also operating a series of pilot projects from British Columbia to Prince Edward Island to collect data on how to recover and recycle used plastic bale and silage wrap, baler twine and bunker covers. The information will help communities evaluate more long term solutions.

Information about the location of ag plastic collection sites is provided at Cleanfarms.ca

About Cleanfarms

Cleanfarms is a national not-for-profit organization that delivers industry-funded, end-of-life stewardship programs to the agricultural sector across Canada. It works collaboratively with more than 70 members in the pesticide, fertilizer, seed, ag plastic, and animal health medication sectors, as well as partner agencies, and governments to ensure that Canadian farmers can actively contribute to a healthy environment and a sustainable future.

Cleanfarms has over ten years’ experience identifying and helping to develop North American markets for agricultural plastics through the ongoing development and management of farmer-focused recycling programs. It has staff located in Lethbridge, Alberta; Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan; Etobicoke, Ontario; and St-Bruno, Quebec.

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Contact: Barbara McConnell, Cleanfarms Media
416-452-2373
bmcconnell@cleanfarms.ca