- Preliminary discussions with brand owners/retailers about options to achieving regulatory compliance took place
- An ag waste study to estimate the quantities of obligated ag plastics used in PEI was launched
- Education and outreach to collection sites began
Key elements of the approved PSP
New ag plastics recycling programs
- A new program where farmers can turn in fertilizer bags for proper disposal at ag-retailers will soon begin.
- Pilots that have helped farmers recycle silage plastics and twine will now transition into a permanent service. IWMC managed collection sites will accept ag plastics at the onset of this program (December 1, 2022) with additional collection sites coming on board.
- Pesticide & fertilizer containers and seed & pesticide bags will continue to be collected at ag-retailers.
Environmental Handling Fees (EHFs) to be phased in:
Like many PSPs, this one is funded through Environmental Handling Fees (EHFs) applied to products at the time of purchase.
- An $2.20 EHF on fertilizer bags begins January 1, 2023.
- Additional EHFs on ag plastics will begin on December 1, 2023.
Timelines, Key References & FAQs
In September 2021, Prince Edward Island’s (PEI’s) Department of Environment, Energy and Climate Action introduced regulatory amendments to its Materials Stewardship and Recycling Regulations, EC349/14 (the Regulations).
The amendments will help keep a wider variety of ag plastics, out of the environment.
Starting December 1, 2022, companies that supply pesticides, fertilizers, seed and other items like silage plastics, bale wrap and grain bags to farmers in the province must:
- develop a ‘product stewardship program’ (PSP) or
- appoint an agent to operate, a ‘product stewardship program’ (PSP) on their behalf
Cleanfarms, in partnership with ag-retailers, has been delivering industry-funded recycling programs in the province for items like containers and bags for more than 30 years. The regulatory amendments will likely have little impact on these programs.
More recently, Cleanfarms has started working with Island Waste Management Corporation to help collect silage plastics and twine. These regulatory amendments will transition these pilots into a permanent, industry-funded program that farmers can rely on year over year.
Starting in the fall of 2021, Cleanfarms began preparing an agricultural plastic product stewardship program. By doing this, current Cleanfarms members can be compliant with the Regulations while farmers can continue to keep plastics out of landfills and off of farms.
This section provides an overview of the process Cleanfarms undertook to develop its PSP and activities planned for the remainder of 2022.
- Initial outreach to user groups and engagement on the PSP consultation process and key components of the PSP began
- Ongoing discussions with brand owners/retailers took place
- The ag waste study was completed
- Key components of the PSP were mapped out
- One-on-one outreach with brand owners/retailers, collection sites, government officials and user groups took place in order to generate feedback into the PSP
- Draft 1 of the PSP was submitted to the Department of Environment, Energy and Climate Action
- Draft 2 of the PSP was made available for stakeholder input. Comments were due by October 17, 2022
- Submission of the PSP for final government feedback and approval
- Government approval
November & December 2022
- Prepare collection sites for the transition of pilots to permanent programs
- Onboarding of brand owners/retailers
- Farmer education and awareness on potential new programs and requirements
What is an ‘agricultural plastic product?
What is an ‘agricultural plastic product?
According to the regulatory amendments, an “agricultural plastic product” means a product manufactured for use in the agricultural industry and includes:
(i) low density polyethylene grain and silage bags, silage bunker covers and tarps,
(ii) low density polyethylene bale and silage wrap, and
(iii) polypropylene twine;
(iv) low density polyethylene or polypropylene bags, and paper bags, whether lined with plastic or other material or not, used for seed, pesticide and fertilizer,
(v) high density polyethylene containers of up to 23 litres in capacity for pesticide and fertilizer, and
(vi) bulk liquid transport products in sizes of 23 litres and greater used for pesticide and fertilizer.
The intention of the regulation is to capture all pesticide/fertilizer/seed containers & bags, films that are used for the storing of feed and baler twine.
How much is this going to cost PEI farmers?
There is a financial aspect to delivering recycling programs and PEI farmers will likely see some sort of Environmental Handling Fee on certain products starting December 2022. Please see section 6 of the Agricultural Plastic Product Stewardship Program.
Do these types of regulatory obligations on ‘agricultural plastic products’ exist elsewhere in Canada?
Yes. More and more provinces have introduced or are introducing similar obligations. Obligations exist in Saskatchewan (grain bags (since 2018) and Manitoba (containers (since 2011), grain bags and twine (starting 2021)). Quebec introduced obligations on a wide variety of ag plastics in June 2022.
Do these obligations impact suppliers who do business in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia?
No. The regulatory impact impacts supply into Prince Edward Island only.