Recycling program for ag plastics funded in Alta.

A $750,000 grant from Alberta Agriculture will fund a recycling program for agricultural plastics in the province.

The three-year program will be co-ordinated by Alberta Beef Producers on behalf of the Agricultural Plastics Recycling group, which comprises 20 commodity associations, rural municipalities and retailers.

In a news release issued Jan. 21, Alberta Agriculture said the pilot program is focused on five goals:

  • recycling grain bags and twine
  • researching markets for other ag plastics not included in the pilot
  • studying ways to determine ag plastic volume
  • surveying producers to get feedback
  • educating producers about the program and how to recycle their plastics

The pilot program already has a website at www.alberta.ca/plastics-recycling-pilot-program.aspx, but its information is minimal.

In a 2012 study, the Alberta government found that about half of farmers surveyed burned their agricultural plastics on the farm. Taking them to a landfill was also common, according to study findings.

Alberta Agriculture Minister Oneil Carlier said the new program is an effort to tackle the longstanding problem of wasted twine and plastics.

“We’re working with partners to find policy solutions that really work,” he said.

Al Kemmere, chair of the Agricultural Plastics Recycling Group, said the announcement of the program was welcome and his group will explore ways to support environmentally sound end uses for agricultural plastics.

Neil Gorda, a director with Alberta Barley, said there is strong producer support for the initiative.

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