Provincial recycling pilot project tackles agricultural waste

Jan. 21, 2019

by Morinville News Staff

In 2012, a government report found 50 per cent of agricultural producers were burning their agricultural plastics on the farm and many others were sending plastics to a landfill. On Monday, the province announced Alberta Agriculture and Forestry is funding a three-year pilot program that will recycle agricultural plastics.

The Alberta Beef Producers will use the $750,000 grant from the province to coordinate the recycling program on behalf of the Agricultural Plastics Recycling Group – 20 stakeholder organizations ranging from commodity associations and rural municipalities to retailers.

The Plastics Recycling Pilot Program will work to recycling grain bags and twine, and research markets for other agricultural plastics ‎not included in the pilot program. The funding will also be used to conduct a waste characterization study to determine agricultural plastic volumes, and educating producers on the program and how to recycle their plastics.

“Making agriculture more efficient and environmentally sustainable is a win for everyone,” said Oneil Carlier, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry in a media release. “Not only are we tackling the longstanding problem of wasted twine and agricultural plastics, we’re working with partners to find policy solutions that really work. This pilot program is shaping a move toward an environmentally sustainable future for our province.”

The government says the pilot will determine the financials, logistics and operations of recycling agricultural plastics that could help inform a future policy solution to the issue.

Agricultural Plastics Recycling Group Chairman Al Kemmere said the province’s commitment to the pilot program is a welcome announcement. “The APRG will explore an on-the-ground assessment of ag plastics on the provincial landscape to support the environmentally sound end use of these materials,” Kemmere said.

Plastics recycling continues to be a problem for communities since China banned the import of foreign plastics in January of 2018.

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