Grain Bag Roller Recycling Program and Rental Requirements
Properly rolled and secured grain bags and bagged twine can be dropped off, free of charge, at St. Michael Landfill. Grain bags should be rolled tightly with a mechanical grain bag roller and secured with twine. If the customer has any concerns about the local weather impacting the normal landfill operations, the recommendation should be for the customer to call the landfill to confirm offloading and if there any concerns that particular day.
Note: grain bags and twine must be prepared properly prior to drop off. This will ensure a smooth drop off process which maximizes the recyclability of the material. Non-program material or material not prepared properly could be rejected. Contact Cleanfarms or the St. Michael Landfill for preparation instructions. Lamont County offers free rental of a grain bag roller, see below for rental details.
Clean plastic twine should be loosely placed in collection bags. Collection bags for recycling twine are available at St. Michael Landfill for free. Please ensure there are no other materials: including netwrap, rope, or sisal twine in the collection bag, or the whole bag is un-recyclable. Learn more about how to prepare grain bags, or visit the St. Michael Landfill website for more information. The landfill is open Tuesday to Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and can be contacted at 780-702-9880.
Contact Agricultural Services to request a rental
- Maximum Two-Day Rental
- No Daily Rental Charge
- A $300 Deposit is Required and has GPS Unit Tracking
(as this unity is only available for Lamont County residents, with some flexibility for use on resident’s who own farms in surrounding areas)
- Unit Must be Returned with a Full Tank (checked prior to rental and upon return)
Grain Bag Recycling
- Shake – Remove debris; grain bags need to be as clean as possible with care to remove as much organic material (spoilage, dirt, etc.) before or during rolling. Excessive grain in the bag or loose/unrolled bags may be rejected.
- Roll – Prepare grain bags by tightly rolling with a mechanical grain bag roller or baler, and then securing tightly with twine. Please contact Agricultural Services to use the county grain bag roller.
- Return – Please contact St. Michael Landfill prior to dropping off material if unloading assistance is required and if you are unsure if you have prepared it properly.
- Shake – Remove as much debris, snow, or ice as possible. Excessive amounts of hay with the twine may be rejected.
- Bag – Place loose twine in a clear collection bag, poke holes in the bottom to drain moisture, and secure bag closed with twine or a zip tie. Twine collection bags made from 90 per cent PCR content with perforated holes in the bottom are available at no cost to farmers and can be obtained from St. Michael Landfill.
- Return – Return to St. Michael Landfill.
About this program
This initiative is part of the Alberta Ag-Plastic. Recycle it! program, a pilot aimed at establishing an environmentally sustainable program to recycle agricultural plastics.
Cleanfarms, in partnership with the multi-stakeholder Agricultural Plastics Recycling Group (APRG), is operating the program, while funds for the project were granted by the Government of Alberta and are administered by Alberta Beef Producers.
Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Ag Plastics and Recycling
- What are ag plastics?
- Farmers use many tools made of plastics to help them manage agricultural operations to produce food, including small (<23L) chemical containers/jugs and other types of containers such as totes and drums; seed, pesticide, and inoculant bags; twine; grain bags; silage and bale wrap; and tarps.
- What typically happens to ag plastics?
- Cleanfarms operates recycling programs for multiple types of ag plastics (small/large chemical containers; grain bags; twine; silage plastic; bale wrap; seed, pesticide, and inoculant bags) across Canada. These plastics are typically converted into a flake or pellet and used in the manufacturing process of new plastic products. Other ag plastics that aren’t included in Cleanfarms’ collection programs are typically landfilled, burned or buried on-farm (the latter two are discouraged and prohibited practices in Alberta).
- Why is there a need to recycle ag plastics?
- Recycling ag plastic contributes to cleaner farms and farm communities.
- Farmers who recycle ag plastics are adding to their farm sustainability and the stewarding of their land for future generations.
- Recycling ag plastics recovers these resource materials to be used again, contributing to a circular economy and a better environment.
- Are there any estimates of the amount of ag plastic generated in Alberta in a year? (Additionally, are there any estimates of the amount of grain bags and plastic twine generated in Alberta in a year?)
- Please see the Alberta Agricultural Waste Characterization Study, completed in 2019 for the most up to date estimates in Alberta: https://cleanfarms.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Alberta-Ag-Waste-Characterization-Study-Update-Oct-2019.pdf.
- All Ag-Plastics (estimated 7,044 – 11,384 metric tonnes).
- Grain bags (estimated 1,480 - 2,500 metric tonnes).
- Twine (estimated 1,320 - 3,000 metric tonnes).
- This pilot project currently includes only grain bags and plastic twine. Why?
- Grain bags and twine have the most stable end markets and are easiest to recycle compared to some of the other ag plastics. Cleanfarms intends to develop programs for the other ag plastics as the recycling options evolve.
- Are there any plans to expand the scope? Why or why not?
- Funding for this pilot project was for grain bags and twine only. However, Cleanfarms is continually expanding our program base to encompass other materials. Currently, Cleanfarms operates a separate pilot program for the collection of silage plastic and bale wrap in Alberta. The program is funded in part by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Canadian Agricultural Strategic Priorities Program (CASPP).
- When did the pilot project begin? When will it end?
- The program is being funded through a grant from the Government of Alberta ($1 million over three years; 2019-2022; as of January 2022, work is being done to extend the pilot term beyond 2022) and is financially administered by Alberta Beef Producers. The program is led by the multi-stakeholder Agricultural Plastics Recycling Group (APRG), while Cleanfarms, Canada’s agricultural stewardship organization, operates the program.
- How will it be determined if the project is a success?
- The goal of the pilot is to test logistics and to assess costs and resources for the implementation of a permanent program including collecting, managing, and recycling materials.
- Is there a plan to continue with the collection sites once the pilot has ended?
- Currently, we are mid-pilot with a great deal of data yet to come that will inform next steps.
- Are there collections sites throughout Alberta?
- As of December 31, 2021, there are 33 collection partners for grain bags and/or twine with a total of 90 collection locations which accept either grain bags, or twine, or both. The complete list with a map, directions, collection style, and site contact details can be found here: https://cleanfarms.ca/alberta-ag-plastic-recycle-it-program-details/#collection-sites.
- How were the locations determined?
- Sites were selected based on several factors, including meeting minimum site requirements for the safe handling and storage of material, prior experience in managing agricultural plastics for recycling, willingness to participate, and geographic distribution to ensure accessibility across the province.
- What sort of uptake have you had so far?
- Producers in Alberta are keen to be able to recycle grain bags and twine. We know from studies that 92% of Alberta producers (growing crops or livestock) would be very (68%) or somewhat (24%) likely to participate in a recycling program for grain bags if a collection site was in their area. Similarly, 86% said they would be very (56%) or somewhat (30%) likely to participate in a twine recycling program if a collection facility was in their area. Every year, as more producers become aware of the program, collection volumes increase. As of December 31, 2021, the program has recycled over 1,600 metric tonnes (MT) of grain bags and 200 metric tonnes of twine.
- What happens to the materials once they are collected at the collection sites?
- Currently, grain bags are shipped to one of three recycling facilities, two in Alberta and one in the US, while twine is shipped to one of two recyclers in the US for cleaning, processing and pelletizing.
- What are some of the end uses for the recycled materials?
- Grain bags are converted into plastic pellets, those pellets are then used to manufacture new film plastic products such as industrial plastic bags and construction sheeting, composite dimensional lumber, and agricultural fence posts; research and development is underway to use these pellets in the manufacturing of new grain bags.
- Twine is recycled into plastic pellets and those pellets are then blended with other plastic resins to manufacture things like car parts, flowerpots, composite decking, and dimensional lumber.