A new program to recycle plastic grain bags is being launched to prevent environmental harm from open burning or improper disposal.
The recycling program will be operated by CleanFARMS, a non-profit environmental stewardship organization. It is already well-known for its Obsolete Pesticide and Livestock Medication Disposal program, which has been running for a number of years.
CleanFARMS General Manager Barry Friesen says there will be 20 collection sites around the province, with more added in 2019.
The Ministry of Agricuture funded a grain bag recycling program from 2011 to 2017. A total of 4,209 metric tonnes of material was shipped to recyclers---equivalent to approximately 28,000 grain bags.
"It shows that farmers want to do the right thing and they need the infrastructure to handle these very large bags," Friesen said.
An environmental handling fee of 25 cents per kilogram will be charged at the point of purchase, effective November 1, 2018.
"To put that in perspective, a typical 250 foot grain bag, the charge could be in the $30 to $40 range. That's relatively small compared to the bag itself."
Friesen notes that environmental handling fees are already in place on products such as computers and televisions.
Environment Minister Dustin Duncan says Saskatchewan is the first province in Canada with a regulated agricultural plastics recycling program.