The Government of Saskatchewan recently approved a new recycling program for agricultural grain bags. The program, set to launch in March 2018, provides a responsible option for producers to return these large, heavy bags for recycling and to prevent environmental harm from open burning or improper disposal.
The recycling program will be operated by Cleanfarms, a non-profit environmental stewardship organization, and regulated by The Agricultural Packaging Product Waste Stewardship Regulations, which came into effect in July 2016.
“This makes Saskatchewan the first province in Canada with a regulated agricultural plastics recycling program,” Environment Minister Dustin Duncan said. “I’m pleased that our province is a leader in agricultural plastics recycling, and that our producers and sellers will have a program for grain bags to be responsibly recycled to protect our environment.”
With the assistance of funding from the Ministry of Agriculture, Cleanfarms will establish 20 grain bag collection sites in 2018, with more sites planned for 2019.
“We know that Saskatchewan farmers want to do the right thing for their land and communities,” Cleanfarms General Manager Barry Friesen said. “Our team is looking forward to being part of this new work and to help farmers be even more sustainable.”
“Saskatchewan producers are responsible stewards of their land,” Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan President Todd Lewis said. “They care deeply about sustainability, and are aware of how their actions today could affect future generations. Our members will be pleased to see the launch of this program.”
The Ministry of Agriculture funded a grain bag recycling pilot program from 2011 to 2017, operated by Simply Agriculture Solutions. Through the program, 4,209 metric tonnes of material was shipped to recyclers – equivalent to approximately 28,000 grain bags.
The new program will include an environmental handling fee of $0.25 per kilogram, which will be paid at the point of purchase effective November 1, 2018.