A county-wide recycling program aimed at producers has caught the attention of the Alberta government in a positive way.
Mountain View County partnered with the Mountain View Waste Management Commission to recycle rural plastics and wire.
Recently, they were given an honourable mention in the partnerships category at the Ministers Awards for Municipal Excellence reflecting the success of the program, now in its fourth year.
“I was actually shocked,” said Don Reid, Mountain View Waste Management Commission chief administrative officer.
“I was very proud we got the honourable mention. I was even happier for the county because they’ve been working very hard at making this program work.”
In a press release Municipal Affairs Minister Doug Griffiths said the co-operation and collaboration is vital to community’s success and sustainability.
The honourable mention was given to the group as the county and waste commission developed a program to provide producers with environmentally responsible solutions for their waste agricultural plastics and wires.
“It’s all about recycling rural plastics,” said Reid. “Such as twine, that’s the big one.”
The waste management commission and Mountain view County have a partnership where they pay producers to gather up their twine, silage and grain bags.
The recycling project also includes wire producers would use on their land. The waste commission takes the items and then tries to find markets for them.
One of those markets is in Minnesota, where they send twine to Bridon Cordage. Reid said when they established Bridon as a market for used twine, they were the first in Canada to send it to an American company.
“In this part of the world we have a tremendous amount of twine,” said Reid. “The program is coming into good times now because we have found the markets for it and I think last winter we shipped out about 38,000 pounds of twine.”
Starting as a way to reduce the dependency of on-farm dumps, encourage reclamation of existing refuse storage sites and reduce the amount of recyclable products from going into the county’s landfill system, the program was seen as a way to provide an environmentally responsible solution for the agricultural waste producers created.
A one-day trial farm roundup event was held at the Olds transfer station on April 28, 2007, to evaluate and research the viability of a program that was aimed at farm plastics. A $100 incentive for the first 100 producers to bring in their farm plastics sweetened the offer. At the end of the day, 70 farms and youth organizations from across Mountain View County came and a total of 19,610 kg was donated.
The success of the trial led to more dates, between the beginning of April and the end of October, to be more accessible for producers. As well, there is still the $100 incentive for the first 100 Mountain View County residents or local 4-H clubs who deliver a minimum of 100 kg of agricultural plastics for recycling.
“Actually it’s caught on pretty well,” said Reid. “We’ve had great response from farmers and they’re happy they don’t have to deal with that. A lot of them have bought into this and we’re really happy to be able to help them out. We’re even happier there’s a market for this.”
Although the waste management commission doesn’t make any money at this, they’re not losing money either.
When Bridon Cordage gets the twine, the company recycles it back into new twine.
“It’s not all about the county and it’s not all about the waste commission, it’s about giving farmers and ranchers an alternative for disposal,” said Reid. “And they’re buying into it.”