Farmgate: municipal waste management solutions are also needed for farms

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Landfill sites are running low on authorized uptime.

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In South Glengarry, the North Lancaster site is scheduled to expire on December 31, 2025, and Beaverbrook Road is expected to expire on December 31, 2033, possibly the last landfill to remain open at SDG, but as the number of new homes and developments are encouraged in SDG , the amount of waste will increase.

South Glengarry Council has debated how waste from township residents and businesses can be drastically reduced. Once the landfills are full, the only option is to use private landfills, many of which burn it and convert it to energy. Despite their best efforts, it is almost impossible to reduce what is left on the curb, more residents means more waste.

Even the recycling industry is periodically hit by the dumping of what it collects in landfills – no one wants it or can use it economically. It’s a vicious circle.

South Glengarry’s goal is to reduce the number of bags in each residence. Four bags will be authorized at the curb by December 31, three bags by July 31 and two bags by December 31, 2022. Many municipalities are already at this level. To further lighten the load on landfills, farms will be limited to four bags – and that will be interesting.

Most farms are already recycling as much as they can. All authorized cardboard, paper, glass and plastics are recycled. Empty drug containers, syringes and sharps go back to the vet, paper supply bags are recycled, and woven plastic ones are used as garbage bags.

We are a small dairy and our usual number of roadside bags is two for the house and four to five for the barn. That still doesn’t include the many trips we and other farms take to the landfill every spring!

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Unfortunately, farms create waste and while some of it was once returnable to suppliers, this option was stopped years ago in the name of animal health.

Feed factories would accept empty, clean feed bags and even pay five cents each for them. No more. Suppliers of dairy cleaners and disinfectants would actually put a deposit on the containers, refundable on return. This too has come to an end and while feed bags are now garbage bags, containers now pile up on farms, with the plastic films used to wrap round bales, feed tubes and tarpaulins. silage.

So what’s going on in our weekly barn bins?

Round ball mesh (not the film); it probably increases three or four times in the winter when there is no pasture. Used fly rope covered with flies, used milk filters, supplies used for artificial insemination of cows (long gloves, tubes and straws), paper towels, miscellaneous used tubes, paper bags lined with mineral cattle plastic, boots disposables, and visitor coveralls.

The plastic film used to wrap the round bales is stacked until spring. Quebec estimates that its farms use 6,500 metric tonnes per year! And that doesn’t include horticultural films. In addition, empty containers of dairy liquids accumulate throughout the year until the free discharge days arrive and everything is transported back to the silage packaging and other old tarpaulins. firm.

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The containers are thick and sometimes someone has an idea and takes some to use it. A friend took a dozen of them a few years ago and turned them into square flowerpots. Someone else made a short floating dock in their pond. We use them as bins and, cut in half, feeders and storage bins. After a while, the ideas stop and they too go in the trash.

Several years ago I spoke with a business owner near Toronto who accepted all packaging and tubing to make plastic fence posts and plastic patio floors, as well as pellets for sale to customers. manufacturers. The only problem was that everything had to be delivered there. No township here was interested in transporting it by truck to keep it out of their landfills.

Quebec is currently in a trial program to collect and recycle agricultural films and plastics in four regions. Hopefully something will come of it and other provinces will follow suit.

If municipalities are serious about reducing the waste going to their landfills, they need to act now and figure out how to recycle agricultural waste, especially film and plastics. It would be advantageous for them to do so.

Until then, farmers will just have to do their best.

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Melissa C. Keyes