Alberta Ag Plastic. Recycle It! Program Extended Until December 2025!

LETHBRIDGE, Alberta, May 02, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Alberta farmers can continue to recycle their grain bags and twine thanks to a recent extension of the successful Alberta Ag Plastic. Recycle It! pilot program. Cleanfarms, the non-profit organization operating the program, is excited to announce that it will continue until the end of 2025.

This marks the second extension of the program, which launched in October 2019. Since its inception, this program has collected nearly 3.6 million kilograms (kg) of recyclable agricultural plastic, including:

  • 3,105,018 kg of grain bags, when laid flat, is enough to cover an area of approximately 1,359 hectares; and,
  • 462,590 kg of twine, which is enough to bale about 1.27 million large square bales of hay.

This means that these plastics won’t spend the rest of their days filling up Alberta landfills, and instead go on to productive uses in the circular economy, where they provide raw materials for manufacturing into new goods, many of which are used back on Alberta farms.

But it’s not just about numbers. For farmers, recycling used ag plastic waste is a key component of their commitment to sustainability in their agricultural practices. “When we can roll up a few grain bags and take them to a collection site for recycling, it just makes sense,” says Dean Hubbard, a grain farmer near Claresholm, AB, “Especially when I know they’re not going to blow around on my property and they’ll be turned into new things that we can use. Of course I’ll do it.”

Farmers Are Keen to Contribute to the Recycling Process
Farmers in Alberta play a vital role in preparing materials for recycling and often make the difference between whether a grain bag or piece of twine can be recycled or is sent to a landfill. By shaking the snow or clumps of hay off used twine before stuffing it in a bag or shaking the debris off a grain bag before rolling it, they ensure that these materials can be recycled and used as raw materials in manufacturing new products.

Recycled grain bags are turned into pellets, mostly here in Canada, which then get turned into products like silage plastic, dimensional lumber and agricultural fence posts that can be used on the farm. In the not-too-distant future, we expect to see them reemerge as new grain bags. Used twine is also pelletized and manufactured into items like greenhouse pots and trays, composite decking, car parts and more – all within North America.

The entire agricultural industry is coming together to create sustainable solutions,” says Barry Friesen, Executive Director of Cleanfarms. “From farmers to collection sites, partners like APRG, Cleanfarms members, and recyclers, everyone is playing a vital role. Together, we’re building a circular system we can all rely on, not just for now, but for generations to come.

Continued Provincial Commitment to Program Expansion and Increased Funding
This pilot project is led by the multi-stakeholder Agricultural Plastics Recycling Group. Funds for the pilot were granted by the Government of Alberta and are administered by Alberta Beef Producers. The long-term goal is to evolve the pilot into a permanent program.

The program's ongoing success is thanks to continued support from Alberta's Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation. In August 2023, the Ministry committed an additional $400,000 in funding and extended the program's term to December 31, 2025.

Collection Network Grows
Through the development of this program, the network has grown to encompass 49 collection partners, comprising 159 individual collection sites that collect either grain bags or twine, or both.

Most recently, the program has expanded to welcome two new collection partners: Birch Hills County and Lac Ste. Anne County. These partnerships have added two new grain bag and twine collection sites and nine new twine-only collection sites, making it even easier for farmers to participate in the program.

“Alberta farmers have embraced this program and we’re proud to work with Cleanfarms to offer it to them,” says Assar Grinde, Chair of APRG. “As we expand the collection network, we aim to increase the collection of twine and expect used grain bags to keep rolling in. We are grateful for the program’s ongoing success and everybody’s participation!”

Cleanfarms is committed to working with Alberta farmers and the government to ensure the long-term success of this important initiative.

Photos accompanying this announcement are available at

Picture 1: Baled, used twine Picture 2: Rolled, used grain bags

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