Despite the challenges of a year restrained by the pandemic, Canadian producers returned more than 5.5 million pesticide and fertilizer jugs 23 litres and smaller in 2020.
That’s on par with 2019 numbers. Last year’s collection brought the total number of jugs recovered for recycling since the beginning of the program in 1989 to more than 137 million.
Placed end-to-end, that number of containers would stretch around the world at the equator 1.3 times. Plastic containers are recycled into new products such as farm drainage tile.
In the Prairie provinces, a growing number of farmers are using grain bags as temporary storage for cereal grains. In Saskatchewan, where recycling grain bags is regulated under a provincial program, the amount returned has doubled to 2,536 tonnes since the inception of the program in 2018. Of the farmers who use grain bags, 59 per cent report they recycle them.
The combination of grain bags, baler twine and ag-film collected in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba added up to about 6,900 tonnes since these materials started to be collected in Cleanfarms-operated pilot projects.
“Our goal is to help farmers reduce the amount of waste generated behind the farmgate, and to offer programs that help farmers fuel the circular economy by recycling instead of having to landfill these materials,’ said Cleanfarms general manager Barry Friesen.
A pilot program to collect seed, pesticide and inoculant bags in Alberta will take place again this year, and a pilot program to collect bale wrap and silage plastic is currently underway in Lethbridge County. In the fall, there will be a collection of unwanted pesticide and livestock/animal medications in southern Alberta collection events.
Information about Cleanfarms programs in Alberta and recycling locations will be available shortly at cleanfarms.ca (click on the Program by Province link).