Cleanfarms transitioning ag plastic jug recycling in Alberta to ag retailers | EverythingGP

2022-06-19 06:34:36 By : Mr. Xinde Yu

Over the next three years, Cleanfarms, the organization that collects used agricultural plastics for recycling, will be changing it’s drop-off locations in Alberta over to agriculture retailers.

Empty 23L, smaller plastic pesticide, and fertilizer containers are now gradually transitioning from municipal transfer stations and landfill facilities to agriculture retail operations.

As of now, producers return their bulk containers – anywhere from 23L to 1000L drums and totes -to ag retailers and smaller containers to municipal sites for recycling.

Executive Director of Cleanfarms, Barry Friesen says there are many reasons behind the change.

“There’s a lot of pressure on municipalities to trim their costs and also pressure on us (Cleanfarms) to get higher collection rates.”

Friesen said Saskatchewan has been running the collection of agricultural plastics this way since 2001, switching from municipal sites to industry retail locations.

Friesen said it’s a win-win for municipalities; “It frees up their sites that they have been doing for free, which will now allow them if they want to collect other materials under programs where they are then paid to do it, to cover the costs.”

Producers will be able to pick up a free large bag to collect, store and transport their smaller, empty containers at their ag retailer once the new drop-off system is in place.

“Overall, it will be a more efficient system. The key here is, that it’s a good thing, but it means change. Change is sometimes difficult… like did everybody get the memo and learn about it? That’s why we are doing it over a three-year period and not doing it all at once.”

Friesen said Cleanfarms is collecting almost 80% of all small agricultural plastic containers across Canada, “which is phenomenal for a program that has been primarily voluntary!”

“But where is the other 20% going? We don’t want them going into landfills, or scattered around the countryside or god-forbid even burnt on the farm.”

“By offering more sites to collect and a more convenient method by using the bags we hope that we will get that.” he says.

Friesen said the transition is “ultimately about jobs, environment, the economy and doing the right thing… keeping our land better than the condition than what we started with.”

The phased approach will begin with 21 local areas in the province, including one in northern British Columbia in early 2022. The stations that are transitioning first have not been frequently used in recent years.

Four collection sites in the northwest will be closing:

Some ag retailer sites will open even before some municipal sites close to make the changeover easier for producers.

At the end of 2022, 58 additional municipal sites will be closing for agricultural plastic container recycling.

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