As Monday marks the start of Earth Week, Cleanfarms is celebrating its 30th anniversary. The organization started as a voluntary stewardship program in the prairies to collect empty agricultural plastic jugs and over the years has since expanded across Canada. In total, Cleanfarms has recycled approximately 126 million 23L-and-under plastic jugs since inception.
The collection program grew from plastic jugs to other farm waste such as empty seed, fertilizer and pesticide bags; silage wrap; large pesticide and fertilizer drums and totes; twine; and grain bags.
“We’re excited that we’ve been able to increase the recovery of empty containers thanks to Canadian farmers and more than 1,000 ag-retail and municipal collection sites across the country. In 2018, we recovered nearly 5.8 million containers, a 14 per cent increase by volume over 2017,” says Barry Friesen, Cleanfarms general manager.
According to the news release, the company currently recovers about 65 per cent of the smaller plastic containers that are placed on the market each year.
“Our success in 2018 set us up to go after 100 per cent recovery to celebrate our 30th anniversary in 2019. We’re asking farmers who use these products to follow best practice and recycle every one of the empty containers when they’re finished with them. It’s a big ask but we know Canadian farmers are keen stewards of their land and are committed to environmental responsibility when it comes to how this packaging is managed,” Friesen added.
Recovered agricultural plastics are recycled into new products such as farm drainage tile, flexible irrigation pipe and garbage bags.