Saskatchewan farms, municipalities, environmental groups, plastics recyclers and waste haulers are being asked for their input on how to manage agricultural plastic waste such as plastic grain bags, plastic twine, silage bags and bale wrap.
The consultations on an agricultural plastics recycling program began January 30, 2013 in Regina through stewardship organization CleanFARMS.
“The Ministry of Environment is moving forward to develop regulations that will require industry stewards to create an agricultural plastics recycling program,” announced Assistant Deputy Minister Mark Wittrup in a statement to media. “This stewardship approach is consistent with other successful industry-led recycling programs in Saskatchewan, such as electronic waste, scrap tires, used oil or waste paint.”
Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Environment contracted CleanFARMS Inc. to develop an industry-led program to recycle agricultural plastics and has directed the non-profit recycling organization to ensure that Saskatchewan stakeholders have an opportunity to weigh in on possible outcomes.
Currently, the ministry says agricultural producers have very few options available to properly handle and dispose of these plastic materials. The move toward this new program supports the Province of Saskatchewan's Plan for Growth in the agricultural sector by looking for innovative ways to reduce the pressure on local infrastructure.
“Recycling empty pesticide containers is a well-established practice for many Saskatchewan farmers, thanks to an industry-led initiative, and now it's time for other industries to follow suit,” said Barry Friesen, general manager of CleanFARMS in the same media announcement. “Fortunately, we have a strong template to draw from and a very engaged stakeholder community, both of which will help form the basis of a successful program.”
The Saskatchewan Agricultural Stewardship Council (SASC) made up of representatives from the agricultural industry and formed under the CleanFARMS umbrella has been tasked to develop and implement an agricultural plastics recycling program.
The SASC has also formed an advisory committee that will ensure that Saskatchewan growers, recycling organizations and rural municipalities have the opportunity to provide input. Additional information about this initiative is available at www.cleanfarms.ca/SASC/. The work of the advisory committee will conclude at the end of June 2013.
CleanFARMS is a non-profit industry stewardship organization committed to environmental responsibility through the proper management of agricultural waste.