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How one company is reducing agricultural waste on Earth Day

As the world celebrates Earth Day on Monday, one agriculture organization is reflecting on the work it accomplished in 2023.

According to a release from CleanFarms, a non-profit group that ensures farmers actively contribute to a healthy environment, the agriculture industry used many recycling and safe disposal programs for agricultural plastics and packaging last year, and there’s certainly an appetite for more solutions in the future.

One example that CleanFarms offers is AgriRÉCUP in Quebec, which operated four permanent collection programs and two pilot programs in the province that captured pesticide and fertilizer containers, plastics for hay and silage protection and seed, and pesticide and fertilizer bags.

“We’re thrilled to have seen so much expansion in our programs last year,” said Barry Friesen, executive director of Cleanfarms. “Earth Day encourages us to acknowledge the important work we get to do on behalf of our members, with farmers, first sellers, ag retailers, and municipalities across the country to keep ag waste out of landfills and work towards a circular economy. We aim to continue working together to provide new solutions for the whole industry.”

Cleanfarms said they are marking Earth Day 2024 by launching a plastic container recycling program. By May 1, 1,500 plus of its collection sites in Canada will accept empty, single-use pesticide and fertilizer containers and other bags from farmers.

The organization said the average recovery rate for pesticide and fertilizer containers 23L and smaller is 77 per cent. The plastic collected through this program will be recycled into new products like flexible drainage pipes, fence posts and composite dimensional lumber used in industrial construction.

CleanFarms acknowledges there is still room for more solutions which is why they’re also contributing to different pilot projects for the agriculture industry for waste management solutions.

“We’re excited to see new growth that will result from the coming year as we continue to collaborate with all levels of the Canadian ag sector and municipal bodies,” said Friesen. “Our collaborators make operating and developing new programs possible, and together, we will strive toward our shared vision of zero ag waste in landfills.”

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