End-market Study for Used Ag Plastics Helps Cleanfarms Plan Future Farm Recycling Programs

ETOBICOKE, Ontario, Oct. 01, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- As part of its goal to develop and implement a comprehensive Canada-wide Zero Plastic Waste Strategy for agricultural plastics, Cleanfarms has released the results of an assessment of ag plastics recycling end markets based on existing North American capacity and market pressures such as supply and demand changes.

The study established a benchmark of the scope and capacity available in end markets that could accept certain ag plastics for recycling. Its results will inform potential next steps for the ag plastic recycling programs and pilots that are in place across Canada.

“Our job at Cleanfarms is to build on the successes of the recycling programs that we have in place so that we progress toward our goal of zero plastic waste in Canadian agriculture,” said Cleanfarms Executive Director Barry Friesen. “The availability of viable end markets is key to the longevity and efficiency of recycling programs and our team is committed to ensuring that the materials collected for recycling through Cleanfarms programs can be reprocessed in North America for manufacturing into new products and packaging.”

The study rates end-markets based on their level of stability in late 2019 and throughout 2020 and serves as a jumping off point for ongoing market analysis by the Cleanfarms team.

Cleanfarms offers a variety of ag plastics recycling programs, from its signature program for empty pesticide containers, which has been in place since 1989 to one of its newer programs for grain bags, which launched as a permanent program in 2018. The report shows that higher end market stability is often linked to program maturity.

“End market development is complex. Like all recycling end markets, those for ag plastic are influenced by a variety of factors,” Friesen said. “We can help by ensuring that we provide recyclers with high quality, consistent feedstock and that we incorporate their feedback into program operations. Our permanent programs allow for this. As pilots mature, we hope to see similar progress toward long term stability in end markets for baler twine, bale wrap and silage plastics.”

Friesen also notes that farmers want reassurance that the material they turn in to recycling programs is, in fact, being made into new products. This study helps address these questions and explains why Cleanfarms recommends a measured approach to program development that is, in part, based on indications that end markets are viable, providing for long-term stability.

The study also outlines the various market forces that influence end market availability. It notes that numerous private sector and government-led initiatives are underway with an aim to improve demand for recycled content which will help drive consistent requirements for recycled ag plastics as feedstocks in manufacturing.

Cleanfarms released the end-market study as a follow-up to a related report, Agricultural Plastic Characterization and Management on Canadian Farms, released in early August. It was a first-ever national waste characterization benchmark report that identified the types and amount of plastic packaging and products used in the agricultural sector by sector and region across Canada.

Combined, these two reports provide key information that will help guide the ag sector as it explores how agricultural plastics packaging and products can contribute to Canada’s emerging circular economy, identify areas for development, and provide a benchmark measure against future success.

Cleanfarms undertook the dual study with the financial support of the Government of Canada through Environment and Climate Change Canada.

About Cleanfarms

Cleanfarms is a national not-for-profit organization that delivers industry-funded, end-of-life stewardship programs to the agricultural sector across Canada. It works collaboratively with more than 70 members in the pesticide, fertilizer, seed, ag plastic and animal health medication sectors, as well as partner agencies, and governments to ensure that Canadian farmers can actively contribute to a healthy environment and a sustainable future.

Cleanfarms has over ten years’ experience identifying and helping to develop North American markets for agricultural plastics through the ongoing development and management of farmer focused recycling programs. It has staff located in Lethbridge, Alberta; Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan; Etobicoke, Ontario; and St-Bruno, Quebec.

Contact: Barbara McConnell, Cleanfarms Media

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at https://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/a98e17e6-6aa9-45c5-964b-68a8bb7674b0

Recycling Empty Pesticide and Fertilizer Containers - Copy