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Grain Bag and Twine Recycling - Now Available!

Image of Cleanfarms Twine Ad

Recycling grain bags and twine just got easier through the Alberta Ag-Plastic. Recycle it! program

Grain bag and twine recycling is now available as part of the Alberta Ag-Plastic. Recycle it!  three-year pilot program aimed at establishing an environmentally sustainable program to recycle agricultural plastics.

Properly rolled and secured grain bags and bagged twine can be dropped off, free of charge, at Bonanza and Blueberry Transfer Stations during regular opening hours.

Grain Bags should be rolled tightly with a mechanical grain bag roller and secured with twine. Clean plastic twine should be loosely placed in collection bags. Collection bags for recycling twine are available at the participating transfer stations. Please ensure there are no other materials, including netwrap, rope, or sisal twine in the collection bag, or the whole bag is un-recyclable.

Note that 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. 

Visit or contact Manager of Environmental Services, Darren Lubeck at (780) 864-3760 or email to learn more about how to properly prepare your grain bags and twine for recycling and more news about this program.

Cleanfarms, in partnership with the multi-steakholder 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.


Cleanfarms Q&A Regarding Ag Plastics and Recycling 

1. 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.


2. 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. From surveys, 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)


3. 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.


4. 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?)


5. 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.


6. 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 (April 1, 2020 through March 31, 2024). The program is funded in part by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Canadian Agricultural Strategic Priorities Program (CASPP).


7. 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—collection of materials is currently scheduled to end August 31, 2023) 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.


8.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.


9. 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.


10. Are there collections sites throughout Alberta?


11. 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.


12. 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 collected and recycled approximately 1,650 metric tonnes (MT) of grain bags and 210 MT of twine.


13. 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.


14. What are some of the end uses for the recycled materials?

  • Grain bags are converted into plastic pellets, the pellets are shipped to manufacturers across Canada and the USA to be used in the manufacturing of various plastic items such as 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.

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