Manitoba farmers recycled 38.4 tonnes of grain bags, twine, and bale and silage wrap in 2020, down from about 51 tonnes in 2019, says Cleanfarms’ 2020 report.
The ag recycling organization attributes the dip to COVID-19 restrictions and lower spring volumes.
Canada-wide, collection was on par or slightly up in many categories. Producers returned more than 5.5 million pesticide and fertilizer jugs in 2020, which is on par with 2019 numbers. This brings the total of small containers collected since the program’s inception in 1989 to over 137.4 million.
“Placed end to end, that number of containers would stretch around the world at the equator 1.3 times,” Cleanfarms said in a May 10 news release.
“Plastic containers are recycled into new products such as farm drainage tile,” it added.
In 2020, Manitoba producers returned over 316,000 small containers. They also returned about 4,200 bulk containers like drums and totes adding to a Canadian total of about 62,000 containers.
Cleanfarms, in partnership with Canadian Animal Health Institute, runs a program that collects obsolete livestock medications. It didn’t collect in Manitoba this year, but Canada-wide collected almost 3,400 kg of medications.
It also collected nearly 300,000 kgs of unwanted pesticides.
“Cleanfarms’ industry-funded programs give farmers options to manage ag waste in ways that help them steward their land for present and future generations,” said Cleanfarms general manager Barry Friesen in the media release.
“Our goal is to help farmers reduce the amount of waste generated behind the farm gate, and to offer programs that help farmers fuel the circular economy by recycling instead of having to landfill these materials,” he added.
In 2020, the Manitoba government asked Cleanfarms to develop a road map to transition its Manitoba pilot program to a permanent, province-wide agricultural recycling program. Cleanfarms said it plans to launch this program sometime this year. As of May 11, it had not received provincial approval but a spokesperson for the organization said they expect an announcement soon.