With more Ontarians growing up in urban areas, there is an increasing disconnect between the farming community and the people who populate Ontario’s urban centres.
Summer is a great time to help bridge this gap. A visit to your local farmers markets offers fresh and local produce and provides opportunities to speak directly to the farmers who work day in and out to bring Canadians an abundant, affordable and safe food supply.
While CleanFARMS isn’t bringing fresh apples and strawberries to Halton residents, the organization is pleased to share some of the great stewardship practices pioneered by Ontario farmers.
CleanFARMS is one of Canada’s leading stewardship organizations and has a long history of successfully managing agricultural waste programs.
Our empty pesticide container recycling program has been in operation since 1989 and our obsolete pesticide collection program began in 1998. With help from farmers, agricultural retailers and municipalities, our programs have earned a reputation for being among the best agricultural stewardship programs in the world.
And this year, CleanFARMS is working with Halton Region to recycle plastic plant pots and trays — which are an essential component of urban gardens.
This is the second year that CleanFARMS has joined forces with a like-minded organization to help urbanites recycle.
Last year, we had the opportunity to work with the Canadian Nursery Landscape Association and Landscape Ontario on their fourth annual All Plastics Collection Event where we collected approximately over 8,000 kilograms of plastic.
We are hoping that we can build on this success in Halton Region. Our expertise really is in the farming sector, but we believe that farmers have a lot of good practices that urbanites can learn from.
When it comes to recycling, one of the most important things is that the recycled material is properly prepared. For plastics, whether its pots and trays or empty pesticide containers, the plastic needs to be clean, dry, and separated.
Ontario farmers do an excellent job of preparing their empty pesticide containers for recycling. Containers are triple rinsed and caps and booklets are removed before recycling. Farmers take the extra step of returning their empty containers to a designated collection site and keep them out of landfills.
The same amount of care should go into properly preparing plastic plant pots and trays for recycling. Shake the plastic well to remove the debris, stack according to size to conserve space and ensure that no foreign materials or garbage is mixed in.
Why is it so important to recycle plastics like pots, trays? Like empty pesticide containers, they are made from high density polyethylene which is a very valuable product that can be re-pelletized for reuse in other appropriate plastic materials, which ultimately conserves valuable landfill space and energy.
So if you think you don’t have much in common with an Ontario farmer, think again when it comes to recycling your garden materials.
About this guest blogger:
I’m Kim Timmer, the Manager of Member Services at CleanFARMS. I work with the CleanFARMS team to serve and profile its members, farmers, and stakeholders who all play a role in making CleanFARMS’ programs so successful. I’m also an avid gardener.