Twine – it’s one of the easiest ag plastics to recycle.

Of all the agricultural plastics on prairie farms, baler twine is one of the easiest to overlook when it comes to a commitment to recycle.

Unlike grain bags, which, when empty, are a massive amount of plastic laying in the field, baler twine accumulates in smaller bunches, seemingly innocuous until they start to take over a corner of the barnyard or wrap around farm equipment axles. Some farmers relegate baler twine to the burn barrel, but that’s one of the worst options for managing it because burning twine releases toxins into the air.

So, what can farmers do with used ag twine?

In Lacombe County, a pilot, ‘Alberta Ag Plastic. Recycle it!’, is underway to give farmers the option to take baler twine to all Lacombe Regional Waste Services Commission sites for recycling, giving that old twine a new life.

Cleanfarms, which operates the pilot program on behalf of Alberta’s Agricultural Plastics Recycling Group (APRG), sends the used baler twine to recycling facilities in Canada and the U.S., where it is turned into pellets to be used in the production of new materials. Twine is made of polypropylene, which is a­­­­ plastic that can be easily remanufactured into new products such as car parts, dimensional lumber, flowerpots and composite decking.

How to Prepare Twine for Recycling

The pilot program enables twine recycling by offering large, free, twine collection bags. The next three steps are straightforward:

1. Shake – Remove as much debris, snow or ice as possible. Excessive organics and other materials (such as net wrap) mixed with the twine will cause it to be rejected or result in the material being sent to the landfill. Recycling processors wash and shred the plastic, so they need it as clean as possible.

2. Bag – Place loose twine in a clear collection bag. They are available at no cost to farmers and can be obtained from all Lacombe Regional Waste Services Commission sites. If using your own clear bag, poke holes in the bottom to drain moisture. With any bag, once full, secure it closed with twine or a zip tie.

3. Return – Please return your clean, full bags of twine to any Lacombe Regional Waste Services Commission site.