A pilot project is looking into recycling agriculture plastics in Alberta.

Alberta Agriculture and Forestry announced they'll be giving a group made up of 20 stakeholder organizations $750,000 for more research and to implement a recycling program.

Assar Grinde is a member of the Executive Committee of the Agricultural Recycling Group, as well as a Delegate for the Alberta Beef Producers which has stepped up as a group stakeholder to keep track of accounting activities and coordinate the program.

Grinde says the three year pilot project will focus on recycling grain bags and twine.

"There is a market for those two products. There's costs associated with transport and the logistical challenges which meant that it hasn't been available to everyone in the province. There's just been a few municipalities that have been actively recycling, so we're trying to come up with an Alberta wide solution to it."

The funding will also go towards researching markets for other agricultural plastics not included in the pilot program, as well as conducting a waste characterization study to determine the volume of ag plastics.

Grinde says in the next couple weeks, the group will be selecting a program operator for the pilot and coordinating host collection sites across the province, adding they hope to roll out the pilot this fall. 

The twine recycling will not include net wrap.

"Net wrap is a big issue," Grinde says. "I don't know if anyone has actually come up with a good solution to that yet which will be part of the waste characterization study. I do know from being a farmer, a lot more people are using net wrap these days than twine."

He says twine is a polypropylene which goes to a company in the United States and in turn produces title drainage pipe farmers use to drain land.

He adds, the grain bags will go to an Alberta plant which turns the bags into small plastic pellets for resale.

From 2011 to 2017, Saskatchewan ran a pilot project and now has the first regulated recycling program in Canada for grain bags.


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