Saskatchewan resident Tammy Shields was honoured by the Saskatchewan Waste Reduction Council (SWRC) back in April for her role in grain bag recycling in Saskatchewan.
Shield received the prestigious Waste Minimization Award at the SWRC’s annual Waste ReForum conference.
“Waste management and waste diversion is very much a passion of mine and recycling. So, to receive such a prestigious award from the SWRC is a great honour and it really bodes well with myself and my peers that I feel they truly support the work that I'm doing in Saskatchewan,” said Shields
She first began looking into grain bag recycling when she was working at home with the Moose Jaw River Watershed Stewards, where the board heard a lot about issues with grain bags and baler twine with farmers needing to manage 300–400 pound pieces of plastic.
Shields decided to look into it further to see if there was an end-market or a better way for farmers to manage bags.
With some help from both government and non-government organizations, Shields' first pilot collection site opened in the RM of Caledonia in March of 2010.
"I made the leap to CleanFarms almost five years ago and now celebrating that this is something I get to do every day and has helped producers manage their solid waste management on their farm and specifically grain bags because it's such a large piece of plastic and now we've grown to 47 collections,” said Shields, who is now the Western Region Program Coordinator for CleanFarms.
Since then that pilot project in 2010, grain bag recycling sites have grown to 47 collection sites in the province and counting.
Shields’ project has grown to the point that 43 of the 47 collection sites now take in baler time. She’s also working with a local recycling center to start a micro-pilot project to collect baler wrap and silage.
She added that they try to use local recycling markets when possible. At the moment, there are only recycling plants in Alberta, by CleanFarms continues to look at ways to bring work back locally.