New grain bag recycling program launching in Sask.

The Government of Saskatchewan has approved a new grain recycling program, set to launch in March. File / Global News

The Government of Saskatchewan has approved a new grain recycling program, set to launch in March.

The program will enable grain producers to recycle agricultural grain bags by providing a responsible option for the producers to return the large, heavy bags for recycling to prevent environmental harm from open burning or improper disposal.

The new recycling program will be operated by Cleanfarms, a non-profit environmental stewardship organization, and regulated by The Agricultural Packaging Product Waste Stewardship Regulations, which came into effect in July 2016.

“This makes Saskatchewan the first province in Canada with a regulated agricultural plastics recycling program,” Environment Minister Dustin Duncan said.  “I’m pleased that our province is a leader in agricultural plastics recycling, and that our producers and sellers will have a program for grain bags to be responsibly recycled to protect our environment.”

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Cleanfarms will establish 20-grain bag collection sites in 2018 with funding assistance from the Ministry of Agriculture and have more sites planned for 2019.

“We know that Saskatchewan farmers want to do the right thing for their land and communities,” Cleanfarms general manager Barry Friesen said.  “Our team is looking forward to being part of this new work and to help farmers be even more sustainable.”

“Saskatchewan producers are responsible stewards of their land,” Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan president Todd Lewis said.  “They care deeply about sustainability and are aware of how their actions today could affect future generations. Our members will be pleased to see the launch of this program.”

From 2011 to 2017, the Ministry of Agriculture funded a grain bag recycling pilot program which was operated by Simply Agriculture Solutions. Through the program, 4,209 metric tonnes of material was shipped to recyclers – equivalent to approximately 28,000-grain bags.

The new program will include an environmental handling fee of $0.25 per kilogram, which will be paid at the point of purchase effective Nov. 1.

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