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Cleanfarms launches ag plastic recycling program in B.C.

September 1, 2021  By Cleanfarms

Farmers in the McBride area of British Columbia’s Regional District of Fraser-Fort George (RDFFG) who use twine, bale wrap, silage bags and bunker covers will be able to recycle these used plastic materials as part of a new pilot recycling project set to launch soon.

Plastic materials like baler twine and bale wrap are common agricultural tools but, when farmers are finished with them, disposal can be a challenge. Usually, the used materials are either landfilled or stored on farms.

The three-year recycling pilot is being operated by Cleanfarms in partnership with the RDFFG at no cost to participating farmers.

“We estimate farmers in the RDFFG generate about 460 tonnes of these agricultural plastics annually,” said Cleanfarms executive director Barry Friesen. “This pilot will help local farmers to move those used materials off their farm properties when they are no longer wanted. Recycling used farm plastics helps keep farms clean and tidy and contributes to sustainable use of natural resources in Canada’s emerging circular economy.”

“The RDFFG has recognized agricultural plastics as an ongoing challenge in our solid waste system. We are eager to join Cleanfarms in this pilot recycling effort. It is our goal to see an extended producer responsibility stewardship program for agriculture plastics in B.C. and this pilot is a good first step,” says Lara Beckett, RDFFG vice-chair.

Local farmers are encouraged to participate in the pilot by picking up large Cleanfarms collection bags at the McBride Transfer Station for each type of material they plan to recycle, and return them when full. Cleanfarms’ contractors will pick up the materials and transport them to recycling facilities in Canada and the USA where they will be processed for reuse in new products, such as car parts and plastic bags.

The Cleanfarms recycling project in the RDFFG is one of three recycling projects taking place in British Columbia. The others are in the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako and the Peace River Regional District. Each pilot is slightly different, depending on the most prominent types of local farming. Cleanfarms’ overall goal is to expand pilots into permanent programs across the country to achieve zero ag plastic waste to landfill.

B.C. joins Saskatchewan, Ontario, Quebec and Prince Edward Island in collecting baler twine in a series of pilots to expand collection of used ag plastics from farms for recycling.

This pilot is funded in part by the RDFFG and the Government of Canada, through Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Canadian Agriculture Strategic Priorities Program (CASPP).

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