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Ag plastics spared from federal ban

Ag plastics spared from federal ban

Farmers already do a good job of recycling plastic containers, Cleanfarms says

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

Some plastics and packaging used in agriculture aren’t part of the federal government’s ban on single-use plastics.

Last week, Prime Minister Trudeau announce his government’s intention to ban single-use plastics like straws, stir sticks and plastic cutlery by 2021.

“We have a responsibility to work with our partners to reduce plastic pollution, protect the environment, and create jobs and grow our economy,” Prime Minister Trudeau said in a statement on June 10. “We owe it to our kids to keep the environment clean and safe for generations to come.”

This action on plastics can remove 1.8 million tonnes of carbon pollution from the environment and create about 42,000 jobs, the government estimates.

Ag plastics – including grain bags and jugs of crop protection products – however, aren’t part of the ban.

Farmers have always been cognizant of the importance of recycling packaging anyway, said Barry Friesen, general manager of Cleanfarms, an organization that works with farmers and other partners to ensure ag plastics are disposed of properly.

“The ag community is very committed to recycling its plastics,” he told “We have a 65 per cent recovery rate. Last year alone, we saw a 14 per cent increase in recovery across the country. Canadian farmers realize their land is their livelihood and they want to leave it in better condition than they (received) it.”

While the industry’s plastic products aren’t part of the proposed ban, the ag industry could see some increased regulations. Part the federal government’s plan is to introduce standards and targets for companies that manufacture plastic products.

“The government is proposing laws that would require more recycling of single-use plastics including some of those used in agriculture,” Friesen said. “So (ag) isn’t caught up in the bans but we are caught up in the request to do more recycling.”

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