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Man. farmers input wanted on ag plastic recycling

Man. farmers input wanted on ag plastic recycling

CleanFARMS is transitioning to an industry-funded program

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer
Farms.com

An organization is asking Manitoba farmers to provide feedback on a permanent, province-wide, industry-funded ag recycling program.

CleanFARMS has been involved in ag plastics recycling initiatives in the province since about 2013 funded through Manitoba Conservation and Climate (MCC) and its predecessors.

MCC has now asked CleanFARMS to present a plan that would move the program from government-funded to industry-funded. MCC will also have the final say on if the plan is approved.

CleanFARMS submitted a first draft of its Manitoba Ag Plastic Plan on Nov. 30. Farmers and other stakeholders have until Jan. 21, 2021 to submit feedback.

“It would be similar to how most other recycling programs in the province for things like tires, oil and electronics is run,” Kim Timmer, manager of stakeholder relations with CleanFARMS, told Farms.com.

Electronic recycling in Manitoba, for example, is handled by the Electronic Products Recycling Association.

Consumers pay an Environmental Handling Fee (EHF) on the sale of new electronics. That fee helps pay for the recycling program.

The fees range from seven cents to $20 depending on the item.

As part of the CleanFARMS plan, EHFs would be applied during the sale of grain bags and baler twine.

These fees would be 25 cents per kilogram ($250 per tonne) of grain bags and 33 cents per kilogram ($330 per tonne) of baler-twine, the organization’s plan says.

Another possible phase detailed in the plan outlines potential EHFs applied to silage film and bale wrap.

Early conversations with producers indicate they are willing to support a program like this to help the environment, Timmer said.

“Through conversations we’ve had, farmers are looking for ways to improve the sustainability of their farm,” she said. “Our challenge will be making it as convenient for them as possible.”

CleanFARMS hopes to receive word from MCC by the end of March 2021 whether their plan is approved or not.

If it is, EHFs will begin to be implemented in December 2021.

Anyone who wishes to provide feedback about the plastics recycling program can contact Kim Timmer at timmerk@cleanfarms.ca.

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