-Extension Includes Additional Ag Plastic Recycling Collection Sites-
LETHBRIDGE, AB (April 28, 2022) – A pilot program enabling farmers in Alberta to recycle grain bags and baler twine has been extended beyond its original three-year limit and has been granted $115,000 in additional funding. Scheduled to end this month (April 2022), the ‘Alberta Ag Plastic. Recycle it!’ recycling pilot will now continue operations until at least the end of August 2023.
“This extension opens doors to expand the program to areas of the province not previously included, broadening opportunities for more farmers to participate in the program by recycling their grain bags and used baler twine,” said Al Kemmere, chair of the multi-stakeholder project lead, the Agricultural Plastics Recycling Group (APRG). “The long-term goal of the group is to expand the pilot into a permanent program.”
Alberta’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Economic Development funded the pilot with $1M in 2019 and granted the extension and additional funds.
“Farmers are dedicated stewards of our lands, and this program makes it easier for them to recycle commonly-used items like grain bags and baler twine,” says Nate Horner, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Economic Development. “We’ve been so impressed with participation in the pilot program that extending it even further was an easy decision.”
Participation by farmers who use grain bags has been robust over the three years of the pilot with more than 1,700 tonnes of grain bag plastic recycled. This level of participation has generated valuable data to anticipate collection, transportation and recycling costs for a province-wide, permanent program.
“The extension will focus on increasing participation for baler twine recycling,” said Barry Friesen, executive director of Cleanfarms which operates the program. “It will enable us to investigate potential barriers to twine recycling and target education and promotion to encourage farmers to bring back more of this used material.”
To date, about 230 tonnes of baler twine has been recovered in the pilot, which is the equivalent of over 10 semi-trailers, fully loaded.
Farmers can go to AlbertaAgPlastics.ca on the Cleanfarms website to find twine and grain bag collection sites and instructions on how to prepare the material for recycling.
Used baler twine collected for recycling in the ‘Alberta Ag-Plastic. Recycle It!’ pilot. Cleanfarms photo.
About the APRG
The Agricultural Plastics Recycling Group (APRG) formed in 2016 to find solutions for agricultural plastics. The APRG is made up of partners including commodity groups, retailers, municipalities, academic institutions, recyclers, and farmers. The group is now focused on the transition of the pilot into a permanent program as well as exploring solutions for other ag plastics such as bale wrap and silage plastic. aprg.ca
The pilot project is led by the multi-stakeholder Agricultural Plastics Recycling Group; funds were granted by the Government of Alberta and are administered by Alberta Beef Producers.
Cleanfarms is a national, non-profit industry stewardship organization that designs and develops recycling and disposal solutions for farmers to manage used agricultural plastics and other non-organic ag packaging waste to help keep farms and farm communities clean. cleanfarms.ca