EDMONTON -- It isn't easy keeping farm yards, fields, ditches and pastures free of platstic twine and other plastic castoffs. However, a three-year pilot program to recycle agricultural plastics is being undertaken by Alberta Agriculture.
A 2012 provincial study found that about 50 per cent of producers were burning their agricultural plastics on the farm, or sending them to a landfill.
By contrast, Saskatchewan ran a pilot program from 2011 to 2017, and is now operating the first regulated recycling program in Canada for grain bags. Alberta’s pilot program includes both grain bags and twine.
The pilot program will help determine costs, logistics and operations of recycling agricultural plastics that could be the basis of a future policy solution to the issue.
The Alberta Beef Producers will use a $750,000 grant to coordinate the recycling program on behalf of the Agricultural Plastics Recycling Group, made up of 20 stakeholder organizations ranging from commodity associations and rural municipalities to retailers.
The Alberta Agricultural Plastics Recycling Pilot Program is aimed at:
-- recycling grain bags and twine
-- researching markets for other agricultural plastics ?not included in the pilot program
-- conducting a waste characterization study to determine agricultural plastic volumes
-- surveying producers to get feedback
-- educating producers on the program and how to recycle their plastics
Neil Gorda, director, Region Four, Alberta Barley, and executive member, Agricultural Plastics Recycling Group, says there is strong support for the program within the agriculture sector and is seen as a much-needed initiative.
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