CleanFARMS looks at best options for managing agricultural packaging waste in B.C.

ETOBICOKE, ON, Feb. 22, 2012 /CNW/ - Reducing, reusing and recycling agricultural and horticultural packaging waste, including plastic containers and bale wrap, will soon be a legal requirement in British Columbia.

As a result of amended legislation under the B.C. Ministry of Environment that requires all "packaging material" as defined by the province to be responsibly recycled, CleanFARMS is studying options to manage agricultural waste plastics.

"At CleanFARMS, we understand what it takes to run a successful stewardship program. We currently operate two world-renowned programs for farmers: the national empty pesticide container recycling program and the obsolete pesticide collection campaign," says Barry Friesen, general manager of CleanFARMS.

This research project is being administered through the B.C. Agricultural Research and Development Corporation (ARDCORP) and the Investment Agriculture Foundation of B.C. Funding for this project is provided by the Investment Agriculture Foundation through the Agri-Food Futures Fund, a trust funded from money under the former federal-provincial safety nets framework.

"We're pleased to partner with CleanFARMS on this project," says Reg Ens, executive director of the B.C Agriculture Council, "Farmers want access to programs such as this one that enable them to manage waste packaging. It's good for farmers, it's good for the environment and it's good for our province."

As it currently stands, there are either limited or no recycling options for many agricultural plastic waste products in B.C. Products such as seed and fertilizer bags, twine and net wrap, silage and hay bale wrap, and cardboard, among others, will be covered by the new regulations.

By May 19th, 2014, packaging producers must provide for collection of packaging waste from residential premises and municipal property that is not industrial, commercial or institutional property. Several commercial businesses, such as those represented by CleanFARMS, are making plans to collect all the packaging that they produce in anticipation of the future requirements.

CleanFARMS' research will examine how much agricultural waste packaging is generated, who is responsible for managing it and what kind of programs could be implemented to do so.

A steering committee made up of a cross-section of stakeholders, including industry and government players, will guide CleanFARMS' research. The next steps will be to communicate the results to the industry.

About the Agriculture Environment and Wildlife Fund

The Agriculture Environment and Wildlife Fund was created to help the agri-food industry contribute positively towards resolving wildlife and environmental issues. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture funded this initiative through a trust agreement with the Investment Agriculture Foundation of British Columbia. The British Columbia Agriculture Council manages the program. Applications are no longer being accepted.

About CleanFARMS

CleanFARMS is one of Canada's leading agricultural waste management organizations. It currently operates a national empty pesticide container collection program and an obsolete pesticide collection campaign.

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For further information:

Erin O'Hara

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