What is it?
Agricultural plastics in Saskatchewaninclude: grain bags, twine, net wrap, silage plastic, seed bags,pesticide and fertilizer containers. Although these materials are important in helping farmers produceand store their crops, they can have negative impacts on the environment if not handled properly. In 2014, Saskatchewan farmers recycled almost 85,000 kg of plasitc grain bags - the weight equivalent to 47 4WD tractors.
What is the issue?
Plastics are made of very stable materials which means they will stay in the environment for a long time after they are discarded. This becomes a dilemma as we build up piles of waste that won't go away. Burning plastichas environmental and health consequences as it produces dioxins, heavy metals, and furans. Dioxins and furans are known carcinogens and have provennegative effects on the immune, nervous, endocrine, and reproductive systemsof humans and animals.
Some landfills have banned the disposal of agricultural plastic like grain bags because they are so big and bulky. Pesticide containers, if not properly rinsed,may still contain toxic residues.
Where can it go?
Provincial regulations passed in August 2016 require sellers of grain bags to provide a recycling program. This program is expected to start in 2018. Until then, a pilot program operated by Simply Ag Solutions offers 17 drop-off sites for grain bags and twine.
Pesticide / Fertilizer Containers
CleanFARMS operates a voluntary recycling program for pesticide and fertilizer containers through Ag dealers.
We have two provincial recycling programs for agricultural waste.
1) Simply Ag Solutions Grain Bag Recycling Program
Simply Ag Solutions started a federally and provincially funded grain bag recycling pilot program in 2011. This program was created to reduce the waste of agricultural plastics. The program currently has 17drop-off sites located throughout the province. Grain bag rollers are available at most locations for farmers to roll theirgrain bags and twine. In April 2014, the Simply Ag Solutions expanded their services to include the collection of silage plastic and net wrap.
2) CleanFARMS Agricultural Plastic Recycling Program
In Saskatchewan, CleanFARMS has a recycling program for empty commercial pesticide and fertilizer containers. Farmers can drop-off their clean containers free of charge to numerous retail collection points across the province. In 2013, the program collected 2,200,468 containers in Saskatchewan alone. This amounts to 816,467 kilograms of plastic that was diverted from landfills and burning barrels across the province.
Agricultural plastics are a valuable resource that can be reprocessed into new products. Check out our database to find a drop-off location near you.
What happens after?
Agricultural plastics are cleaned and converted into pellets that can be made into plastic bags or products like drainage tile and plastic lumber.
How can I reduce?
Store plastic wrap indoors. This will keep it from degrading in the sunlight,allowing it to last longer.
Buy only what will be totally used up on the farm - You can always go back for more.
Consider permanent structures for storing grain, such as granaries.
Organic farming uses no pesticides or fertilizers, eliminating any associated containers.