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Saint-Anicet Municipality

Farmers, the MRC du Haut-Saint-Laurent and AgriRÉCUP join forces for a zero plastic waste strategy for agriculture in Quebec

For the past few months, the MRC du Haut-Saint-Laurent, in conjunction with AgriRÉCUP/CLEANfarms, has been working to implement a pilot project for the recovery of waste agricultural plastics in the region. In participating in the project, Haut-Saint-Laurent farmers will be playing a lead role in the development of a zero plastic waste strategy for the Quebec agricultural sector.

“The MRC du Haut-Saint-Laurent is proud to be collaborating with AgriRÉCUP/CLEANfarms in working towards reducing the environmental footprint of farmers by jointly developing ecological solutions for the recovery of agricultural plastics here, and elsewhere in Quebec,” says Louise Lebrun, the prefect for the MRC du Haut-Saint-Laurent.

Managing plastic waste in agriculture

Operating an animal production farm necessarily involves the growing and harvesting of crops for silage and hay to feed livestock. Such feeds are wrapped and stored, often for months at a time, which requires the use of plastic film, tarps, and silo bags, as well as twine and netting. Together, these items represent tons of plastic.

Typically, used or waste plastic ends up in landfills or is burned on the farm. “The common thread linking farmers in the MRC du Haut-Saint-Laurent with those already participating in pilot projects across the province is the way these materials are managed once they are no longer needed. Used agricultural plastics are difficult to process on the farm, but we know that farmers are supportive of solutions to help manage them in an environmentally sound way,” says Christine Lajeunesse, the eastern Canada director for AgriRÉCUP/CLEANfarms.

“The goal of our pilot projects is to work with the MRCs and farmers to identify and develop effective systems to recover these materials for recycling. This in turn helps to optimize the circular economy in Quebec,” explains Lajeunesse.

Integrating recovery practices

The pilot project in the Haut-Saint-Laurent region involves two management methods for farmers to recover their plastics:

  • the collection bag; and
  • the press.

The collection bag revolves around farmers separating their plastics and storing them specifically in AgriRÉCUP/CLEANfarms bags available at participating collection sites.

The press will allow farmers to compress between 200 and 250 plastic films into a single bale weighing approximately 450 kgs.

Farmers using the press on the farm report positive results, noting it is easier to handle the plastic: it stays cleaner and meets the quality criteria set out by recyclers. The press also saves time by reducing the number of trips to collection sites.

Either method requires farmers take care not to mix the different types of plastic.

Do your part and participate!

In addition to the involvement of the MRC du Haut-Saint-Laurent, several other partners have collaborated to launch this pilot project, including the Haut-Saint-Laurent syndicate of the UPA, BMR Uniag in Sainte-Martine, and the municipalities of Saint-Anicet and Hinchinbrooke.

All interested farmers are now able to return collection bags or compressed bales to the following three collection sites:

The municipal garage in Saint-Anicet

5001 route 132, Saint-Anicet
Monday to Friday, between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Uniag Sainte-Martine

195 rue Sainte-Marie, in Sainte-Martine
Monday to Friday, between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Municipal garage in Hinchinbrooke

315, route 202, in Hinchinbrooke
One-time collections will take place in Hinchinbrooke on every second Wednesday of the month, starting on July 14, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

AgriRÉCUP bags are available for farmers at the Hinchinbrooke town hall and municipal garage. Bags are also being made available at the town halls in Elgin and Godmanchester, and at the municipal garage in Franklin.

About AgriRÉCUP

AgriRÉCUP is a non-profit organization dedicated to environmental responsibility through the sound management of inorganic agricultural waste. AgriRÉCUP programs are offered across Canada and are used internationally as a model.

The MRC du Haut-Saint-Laurent’s agricultural plastics recovery project is part of a series of pilot projects conducted by AgriRÉCUP with the goal of implementing a permanent program throughout Quebec. AgriRÉCUP receives financial support from the provincial Ministry of Environment and the Fight Against Climate Change (MELCC).

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Plastic bales