Cleanfarms released its 2019 annual report showing Canadian farmers continue to focus on recycling agricultural plastics.

Through its five permanent collection programs, Cleanfarms helps farmers manage and recycle agricultural packaging and obsolete products.

General Manager Barry Friesen says one of their most popular programs is the Small Container Program.

“That’s the typical 10-litre containers that holds pesticides or fertilizers. We collected five and a half million of those containers last year and 80% of those containers are in the three prairie provinces.”

He notes since the program began in 1989 they collected over 130 million containers, which if laid end to end would take you from St John’s, NL to Victoria, BC three times.

Cleanfarm programs also include non-deposit bulk pesticide and fertilizer totes and drums, unwanted and old pesticides and livestock and equine medications, grain bags, as well as Eastern Canada’s program for recycling seed and pesticide bags.

Friesen says one of the programs they're involved in for Saskatchewan is the grain bag recycling program.

“Last year we had a 44% increase over the previous year, and we've collected over 50% of all the bags that were distributed into that province. Those products were recycled in North America and into new plastic products. We’re very, very proud of how quickly that has come up in the numbers and the way that farmers are participating in the program.”

He notes a pilot program in Manitoba to collect used grain bags, bale, silage wrap and twine for recycling recovered 51 tonnes last year, up from 34 tonnes in 2018.

Cleanfarms pesticide and livestock medication collections program allows producers to take unwanted and obsolete products to designated drop-off locations for disposal.

Friesen says the program moves to designated areas across Canada every three years.

In 2019, producers in BC, Alberta’s Peace Region, Northern Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario and Newfoundland returned over 214 thousand kilograms of unwanted pesticides and over 58 hundred kilograms of obsolete farm animal medications for disposal.

He says Cleanfarms gives farmers options to manage non-organic waste, helping them steward their land now and into the future.

“Our goal is to keep expanding our programs to offer farmers convenient and effective environmentally sustainable options to manage ag-waste on their farms.”