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County board updated on ag plastics recycling programs

Mountain View County was selected as one of the first 20 collection sites under the pilot

MOUNTAIN VIEW COUNTY - The county's agricultural service board (ASB) has been given an update on agricultural plastics recycling in the province.

Davin Johnson, Alberta program advisor with Cleanfarms, appeared as a delegation before the board, highlighting recent programs and plans for upcoming activities.

Cleanfarms is an ag industry-led and funded organization that has been working with the county on its twine collection program. It is estimated that 25 per cent of agriculture plastic waste in the county is twine, while silage plastic makes up more than 50 per cent.

In 2019, Agricultural Plastics Recycling Group and Alberta Beef Producer selected Cleanfarms to operate the three-year pilot program in the province to collect agricultural grain bags and twine for recycling.

The county was selected as one of the first 20 collection sites under the pilot

Cleanfarms has facilitated the transportation of the twine collected in the county.

The condition of the twine collected from the county has been excellent, with very low contamination, members heard.

The twine is recycled into pellets which are then sold to various markets to be made into new polypropylene products, such as roofing material and vehicle bumpers and panels.

Johnson said since October 2019, 892,060 kilograms of grain bags and 60,153 kilograms of twine has been collected provincewide under the pilot.

“You guys have been doing a fantastic job collecting it (twine),” he said.

Preparing twine correctly remains a must, he said.

“Essentially when it comes to twine recycling, the recyclers need the contamination to be in the five per cent range, which is incredibly stringent,” he said. “It’s really important that there is a little contamination as possible.”

The container recycling program now includes collection bags to manage the empty jugs on farms and at the collection sites, he said.

Pesticide and fertilizer containers should be returned to retailers, he said.

Recycling programs new in 2021 include a pilot for seed, pesticide and inoculant bags, with 45-50 collections sites proposed.

“These will be return to retailer as well,” he said. 

Another pilot program is being developed for bale wrap and silage film collection, he said.

“The goal of this pilot is to test and see the efficiency and if it make sense to have some form of on-farm baling to manage this plastic,” he said.

The ASB received Johnson’s presentation as information.