The Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako (RDBN) will be going ahead with the second phase of the Agricultural plastic recycle pilot program in partnership with Cleanfarms.
In November last year, the RDBN first expressed its interest in participating in the pilot. A feasibility study or a waste characterization study was then conducted by Cleanfarms, the non-profit environmental stewardship organization focused on reducing agriculture waste. This was the first phase of the pilot after which the board had the option to back out if the results were not encouraging. The Board has now approved a maximum of $96,501 in funding for the three-year agricultural plastics recycling pilot project.
Currently, there is no Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) program for agricultural plastics in the region. With agricultural plastics, there is a lot of material like plastic twine, bale wrap and netting to store and package hay. However at the end of its life, these materials become difficult to manage and dispose of. An EPR program would put the onus back on the producers to ensure that the material they produce and use, gets disposed at the end of its life and is recycled properly.
The program by Clean Farms is a three-year pilot program that would work towards presenting facts and data to the ministry in the hopes that the ministry will see the data as a possibility for an EPR program for the region and based on those facts develop an EPR program.
During the board meeting, it was made clear that Cleanfarms had indicated its willingness to staff to find end markets in the region and work to reduce transportation. The goal of the program will not be to achieve perfection but would be to work towards developing a program moving forward that has achievable goals for the region.
In an earlier conversation with RDBN’s Waster Diversion Supervisor Janette Derksen, she had said, “It is exciting for us; it is something that we have in our Solid Waste Management Plan, that we want to look at diverting that waste from our landfills.”
She had also said that the actual collection would start in 2021, extending on for three years after which it would be presented to the Ministry’s EPR program.