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On-Farm Recycling made easy

So, you plan on recycling some things on the farm. When you get to the twine and grain bags you have to find a rare place that accepts them. Recycling is important to everyone, and now some previously difficult to recycle agricultural materials just got easier. A pilot project aims to make recycling easy for agricultural producers in Alberta.

Grain Bags
Farms accumulate a lot of grain bags

The Alberta Plastics Recycling Group (ARPG) allocated $1 million to the Alberta Beef Producers to help set up a pilot program and find a better solution to recycling grain bags and twine. Clean Farms, an environmental stewardship organization, operates the three- year program and completed phase one of the program. The first phase set up 20 pilot sites throughout the province, in all the major regions.

Out in the field, grain bags and twine are important tools, but what happens when it’s time to dispose of them? In 2019, FarmShift, a company that does market research and consulting for Western Canadian Agriculture, conducted a survey that showed more than 50% of agricultural producers send grain bags and twine to a landfill or burn the waste instead. This is not exactly the best way to get rid of these materials especially since they are recyclable. If it’s recyclable you may wonder, why isn’t everyone recycling these items so we don’t have to smell twine burning? The answer is, in some places it can be difficult to recycle twine and grain bags.

Feature twine
Twine is recyclable at some sites

Tammy Schwass, Executive Director of Alberta Plastic Recycling Association said, “There was scattered or lack of options in terms of recycling. Previously it was very much just individual municipalities running their own programs. They had challenges collecting enough materials or marketing materials in some cases.”

Feature canal liner
A canal liner can be recyclable as well.

Schwass says this program aims to collect data so they can improve the current system; which would be welcome. Over 80% of producers agreed in the survey that, if the recycling program was convenient and easy to use, it would be a better alternative for disposing of their waste.  As the program continues to collect more data and maybe more sites in the future, visit CleanFarms to find the nearest site for grain bags and twine.