The federal government is investing $1.1 million in Cleanfarms, a non-profit company that helps farmers recycle pesticide containers, grain bags and other plastic waste.
Part of the funds will support a pilot project in Saskatchewan to collect baler twine for recycling. In Saskatchewan alone, farmers use 1,100 to 1,300 tonnes of baler twine per year.
Cleanfarms launched its baler twine project for Saskatchewan in December. The federal investment will assist the ongoing pilot.
“Beyond collecting empty grain bags for recycling, the next most important item for us to focus on is twine. Getting it out of landfill and burn piles and into recycling bags has been a Cleanfarms goal for the past few years,” said Cleanfarms executive director Barry Friesen in December.
There are more than 30 sites across Saskatchewan, where the baler twine will be collected.
Cleanfarms is based in Etobicoke, Ont., but has staff in Lethbridge, Alta., Moose Jaw, Sask. and Saint Bruno, Que.
“With industry’s help, support from our collection network and Canadian farmers, Cleanfarms has diverted about 6,000 tonnes of ag plastics from landfills in 2020, which we estimate to be about 10 percent of the total amount of ag plastic used on the farm,” Friesen said in a March 22 call with media.
The Saskatchewan pilot project will help increase that percentage. Following the pilot, Cleanfarms is planning to recycle baler twine in other provinces.
“Baler twine is an essential tool for prairie farms… but at the end of its useful life, plastic twine is challenging to manage,” said Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau. “This project will lay the groundwork for permanent programs.”
Bibeau also announced financial support for Canadian companies developing bio-plastics made from agricultural materials and other sources.
One of the firms is Titan Clean Energy Projects of Craik, Sask.
Titan will receive up to $1.0 million to develop a food-grade bioplastic that’s suitable for fruit and vegetable containers.
Titan is best known for its biocarbon (biochar) products, which include livestock feed additives, soil amendments and kitty litter.
The feds are also providing $1 million to Eco Enviro Labs, an Ontario company that is developing an organic, bioplastic mulch from poultry feathers.