The non-profit industry stewardship organization opened an office in Lethbridge, Alta.
Cleanfarms now has offices in four provinces across Canada with the recent opening of its Lethbridge, Alta. space.
“Alberta, of course next to Saskatchewan, is one of Canada's largest agricultural producers. We have been operating a program in Alberta since 1989 and we've been expanding as of late,” said Barry Friesen, general manager of Cleanfarms. “There are more and more plastics and materials used in the environment, and farmers want to be more sustainable. So, it was a natural progress – we needed boots on the ground as we develop more programs there.”
Cleanfarms gives farmers an option for recycling their plastics. In Alberta, the organization has three permanent recycling programs and two pilot programs running.
“We have our under 23-litre pesticide and fertilizer container recycling program, our bulk pesticide container recycling program and we have our obsolete pesticide and animal health product program we operate in every province every three years,” Friesen told Farms.com.
The organization’s pilot programs are a seed and pesticide bag collection and a grain bag and twine recycling program.
With all the programs running in Alberta, Friesen said Cleanfarms needed someone in the province to manage it all. The new office will staff one employee, Davin Johnson, an environmental scientist.
As for other locations in the future, Cleanfarms doesn’t have anything planned yet, but there’s room to grow.
“We collect about 10 per cent of all the agriculture plastics that are generated every year in Canada,” Friesen said.
“So, there's a lot more to go. There's 90 per cent more plastics that are out there now. We are currently collecting some of the most difficult ones and the ones that needed to be managed the most, but there's still a lot more agricultural plastics.
“Canadians want to have sustainable solutions for these materials, so it's hard to say where we'll be next. But the most important thing is, with the boots on the ground, we'll be able to do more in” Alberta, Friesen said.
Updated Feb. 21.
Photo credit: Cleanfarms