Cleanfarms Moving Ag Plastic Jug Recycling to Alberta Ag Retailers Over Next 3 Years

LETHBRIDGE, Alberta, June 13, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Cleanfarms, the stewardship organization that collects used agricultural plastics for recycling, announced today it is changing its recycling drop off locations in Alberta where producers take empty 23L and smaller plastic pesticide and fertilizer containers.

The recycling collection system is gradually transitioning from sites at municipal transfer stations and landfill facilities to collecting empty ag jugs at Alberta agricultural retail operations.

The transition to ag retailers is being phased in over three years. The first phase is starting with municipal collection sites that, even though open to receive empty containers from producers, have had little or no containers dropped off there for the past few years.

Cleanfarms Executive Director Barry Friesen said there are several reasons why the change to ag retailers makes sense.

“Transitioning to a retail-based collection for the jug program shifts responsibility to accept empty containers from Alberta municipalities to the ag industry, which harmonizes the collection system across Canada. In all other provinces except Alberta and Manitoba, we collect empty containers at ag retailers,” Friesen said. Manitoba will be transitioned on the same three-year schedule.

Friesen noted that collecting small ag pesticide and fertilizer containers at ag retailers makes recycling the empty containers more convenient for producers.

“For one thing, having ag retailers accept empty containers means we have more drop off locations with longer operating hours,” Friesen said. “For another, producers can return small and large bulk containers to a location that they already go to on a regular basis. It makes recycling easier for most growers.”

Currently, producers return empty bulk containers—23L to 1000L drums and totes—to ag retailers while they take smaller empty containers to municipal collection sites for recycling.

Friesen said another advantage of the revised drop off system is that when producers go to ag retailers to purchase crop input products, they can get a free large plastic bag that makes collecting, storing and transporting small empty containers more efficient. The bags hold about 45 empty containers each.

“Producers like the plastic bags,” Friesen says. “They make managing empty containers simple. In provinces where we’ve been using plastic bags for a while, recycling rates have increased. Bags make it easier to manage empties so producers bring back more of them for recycling. This works quite well.”

Cleanfarms is also making it easier for high-volume generators of empty jugs such as aerial applicators, landscapers and large acreage farms to recycle more containers. Operators can arrange for on-site pickup. Operators should email for more information.

Friesen said he’s very grateful to Alberta municipalities for all they have done to get the container recycling program up and running and staying with it for more than 30 years.

“Cleanfarms’ program in Alberta to collect and recycle empty pesticide and fertilizer jugs is the longest running recycling program for ag plastic containers in Canada. We owe our gratitude to Alberta municipalities for giving producers a convenient location to drop off empty containers. Now ag retailers in those areas will step into those big shoes. Our plan is to have every ag retailer that sells product in 23L containers accept the empty jugs from their customers to ensure producers have the same or better access to recycling. So, it should be convenient,” Friesen said.

The phased in approach will see 21 local areas in Alberta including one in northern BC transition in early 2022. As noted, these municipal locations have not been extensively used in recent years. In case producers do go there, signage is prominent, along with Cleanfarms website information to redirect producers to the new, nearby collection sites. Ag retailer sites will open, some even before municipal sites close, to accept empty pesticide and fertilizer containers.

The Alberta municipal collection sites closing in early 2022 are:

Site Municipality 
Airdrie Transfer SiteAirdrie 
Colinton Transfer StationColinton 
Bellis Transfer StationBellis 
Bragg Creek Transfer SiteBragg Creek 
East Calgary LandfillCalgary 
Clover Bar Landfill / Edmonton Waste Management CentreEdmonton 
Smokey River Regional LandfillFalher 
Flatbush Waste Transfer StationFlatbush 
Fort Saskatchewan Recycling and Transfer StationFort Saskatchewan 
Bindloss Waste Transfer StationBindloss 
Beaver Lake LandfillBeaver Lake/Lac La Biche 
Langdon Transfer SiteLangdon 
Mallaig Waste Transfer StationMallaig 
Picture Butte Waste Transfer StationPicture Butte 
Clearwater County Regional LandfillRocky Mountain House 
Spedden LandfillSpedden 
Blueberry Transfer StationBlueberry Mountain 
Tomahawk Transfer StationTomahawk 
Tulliby Lake Transfer StationTulliby Lake 
Weberville Waste Transfer StationWeberville 
Rolla Transfer Station (PRRD)Rolla (Northern BC) 

At the end of December 2022, a further 58 municipal sites that typically collect low volumes of containers will close. The full transition of municipal sites to ag retailers will continue through 2023 and 2024. Communications and notifications will occur prior to each round of transitions and all information will be included on the Cleanfarms website at Producers should ask their ag retailers when they can start returning empty jugs to those locations.
Backgrounder attached

Cleanfarms Moving Ag Plastic Jug Recycling to Alberta Ag Retailers Over Next 3 Years

Cleanfarms, a national non-profit industry stewardship organization, was created in 2010 to manage empty 23L and smaller containers and other ag waste materials for recycling or proper disposal. Cleanfarms has more than 1,500 locations throughout Canada that accept empty pesticide and fertilizer containers from farmers so they can be recycled. Cleanfarms operates the program on behalf of its member companies which are Canada’s leading developers, manufacturers, distributors and retailers of crop protection products and fertilizers.

Many retail recycling locations also accept empty seed, pesticide and inoculant bags for proper disposal. Complete information on the ag waste materials accepted and the location of collection sites is published on

Preparing Empty Pesticide and Fertilizer Containers

The ag industry, with support from CropLife International, has strict requirements for the handling, processing, recycling and end use of pesticide and fertilizer jugs to ensure that they are handled with the highest health, safety and environmental standards, including full traceability of all jugs.

Producers are required to:

  1. Rinse containers (by way of chemical handler/ triple rinsing/ or pressure rinsing)
  2. Remove paper booklets, and discard; take caps off and discard
  3. Place rinsed containers in a collection bag and securely close (and not place any other materials in the collection bag other than pesticide and fertilizer jugs)

Seed Treatment Containers - Handle seed treatment containers differently by keeping caps securely ON to prevent contamination and by bagging all seed treatment containers separately from non-seed treatment containers.

Barbara McConnell | Media Relations | 416-452-2373 |

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at

Collecting empty jugs for recyclig