Plastic Grain Bag Recycling

Res #: 22-11A
Number: 22
Year: 2011
Midterm: No
Expired: Yes
Responses Received: No
Departments: Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment

WHEREAS agricultural plastics, specifically grain bags, are becoming a growing environmental concern; and

WHEREAS when a refundable deposit is paid on an item, it helps increase the chance the item is returned, recycled, or reused; and

WHEREAS the cost of recycling each grain bag is approximately $170;

BE IT RESOLVED that SARM lobby the provincial government to have refundable environmental deposits placed on plastic grain bags; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the environmental fee established be $370 per grain bag, with a refundable deposit of $200 per bag upon return.

Response from Honourable Dustin Duncan, Minister of Environment:

The Ministry of Environment recognizes the need for improved disposal and recycling options for plastic waste generated from the agricultural sector. Increased use of plastic in the agricultural sector can affect landfill operations for both rural and urban municipalities. However, until we have a better understanding of option costs and markets for recycling agricultural plastics, it would be premature to establish a deposit system on the materials.

We have initiated work on recycling plastic wastes generated by the agricultural sector. The ministry contracted CleanFarms Inc. in 2009 to investigate the amount of plastics being used on the farm and to determine who the manufacturers and retailers of the products are. A second contract was issued in December 2010 with CleanFarms Inc. to characterize the key amounts of agricultural packaging generated on Saskatchewan farms and to present extended producer responsibility options such as handling fees and deposits for government to consider. The Ministry of Environment would appreciate the future input of producers and SARM on any recycling program that may result from this work.