Compactor helps Agassiz farmers reduce plastic pollution

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A compactor helps Agassiz farmers reduce their plastic pollution

In British Columbia, 4,200 tonnes of agricultural plastic are produced each year, according to the non-profit organization Cleanfarms.

Students from the University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) and the non-profit organization AgriRécup (Cleanfarms) have created a compactor to reduce plastic waste from farms. Farmers in Agassiz, Fraser Valley, say they recycled nearly 700 tonnes using this machine last year.

In the Fraser Valley, a farm can accumulate between 1,200 and 1,400 tons of plastic waste each year, according to Gerald Struys, a farmer in Agassiz and president of the community organization Kent Ag Plastics. This is equivalent to the weight of 350 Asian elephants.

This is one of the reasons that led the AgriRécup organization to provide a first waste compactor to farmers in Agassiz, in the spring of 2022. This machine – quickly becoming essential in the daily lives of farmers, according to them – helps them to compress large quantities of plastics. Thus, the material becomes easier to transport for recycling.

With the help of students from the University of the Fraser Valley, an improved version allowed the creation of a second compactor. Now this machine is able to compress 70 plastic bales in 10 hours. Then, AgriRécup helps them transport them to a recycling center.

The plastic is finally transformed into pellets to make fence posts and deck boards, d& #x27;after Gerald Struys.

By 2050, Agassiz farmers want to achieve net zero carbon emissions, including through compactors, according to Gerald Struys. It's important to find a way to recycle [the plastic], because just throwing it in a landfill doesn't help, he says.

Gerald Struys assures that the community was pleasantly surprised to see young people get involved in this project. He now hopes the initiative will encourage other farmers in the area to recycle their agricultural plastics.

With information from Arrthy Thayaparan

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