Canadian farmers are looking to reduce waste, and plant-based plastics are an increasingly popular alternative as part of a growing Canadian bioeconomy. Creating exciting new options for Canadian farmers, while supporting them in responsibly managing on-farm plastic waste, is helping to build a healthier economy and environment.
Today the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, announced funding of more than $4.5 million for five new projects that will improve plastic waste management and on-farm sustainability, and advance bioplastics research. These green agricultural projects will help Canadian farmers remain leaders in sustainable, climate-smart agriculture.
The minister made the announcement alongside Cleanfarms, a national non-profit industry stewardship organization. Cleanfarms will receive up to $1.1 million through the Canadian Agricultural Strategic Priorities Program to develop a strategy to responsibly manage the estimated 60,000 tonnes of plastic waste generated on Canadian farms every year. Their project will increase farmer access to recycling programs and explore ways to deliver long-term, permanent programs that will help Canadian farmers continue to improve the sustainability of their operations.
The other recipients are:
- EcoEnviro Labs Inc., which will receive up to $1 million through Innovative Solutions Canada to advance testing of a new organic bioplastic mulch made from poultry feathers. This could serve as a lower-waste, fully biodegradable and compostable way to produce mulch needed in Canada’s agriculture sector.
- Titan Clean Energy Projects Corp., which will receive up to $1 million through Innovative Solutions Canada to test a food-grade quality bioplastic, ideal for fruit or prepared vegetable containers, that biodegrades more quickly and will result in less landfill and more sustainable options for grocery stores and shoppers.
- TerraVerdae Bioworks Inc., which will receive up to $1 million through the Agricultural Clean Technology Program to develop a new generation of biodegradable bioplastic film and injection molded products that target agriculture applications such as mulch film and seed trays. The project intends to displace conventional petroleum-based agricultural plastics.
- Red Leaf Pulp Ltd., which will receive up to $495,000 through the Agricultural Clean Technology Program to support research and product trials for a straw pulp bio-polymer for use within the wood and pulp industry, and in the production of low carbon fuels and renewable natural gas. The project intends to displace plastic and Styrofoam packaging.
Today’s announcement complements Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s broader commitment to Canada’s bioeconomy. Together, these investments highlight the Government of Canada’s commitment to sustainability while growing the bioeconomy and creating economic opportunities and jobs.
“Canada’s agricultural sector continues to develop innovative tools and approaches to ensure their operations are sustainable. Today’s funding will support farmers looking for ways to better manage their plastic waste, and help advance the necessary work to turn crop residues and other agricultural by-products into renewable energy. This is a win-win for our hardworking farmers, the environment and Canada’s bioeconomy.”
– The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
“Our Government wants to support entrepreneurs and small businesses whose ideas address some of today’s biggest challenges. By investing in innovative and sustainable work in bioplastics testing from small businesses like EcoEnviro Labs Inc. and Titan Clean Energy Projects Corp., our government contributes to the economy, and supports Canadian farmers as well as Canada’s fight against global warming.”
– The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry
“The Government of Canada is committed to sustainability and growing the bioeconomy. Today’s announcement will not only create new recycling programs and opportunities, but it will improve sustainability and operations within farming. These new projects will help local farmers continue to be leaders in sustainable, climate-smart agriculture.”
– Yvan Baker, Member of Parliament for Etobicoke Centre
“Plastics are a valuable tool in modern farming operations enabling them to work efficiently and productively. But when farmers no longer have a use for these materials, they want more opportunities to manage them in an environmentally responsible manner. With this support from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Cleanfarms can develop practical on-the-ground recycling solutions for agricultural materials like bale wrap, grain bags and twine. New options for managing materials like this help farmers operate sustainably and contribute to a healthier environment and a circular economy for plastics.”
– Barry Friesen, Executive Director, Cleanfarms
According to Statistics Canada, there are already over a quarter of a million clean tech jobs in Canada, with an average salary of over $90,000.
Alongside these investments, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada has invested close to $20 million in research and development through the Bioproducts and Biomass AgriScience research clusters.
The funding announced today under Innovative Solutions Canada builds on Innovative Solutions Canada funding of $150,000 for each of these companies announced in August 2019.