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Cleanfarms’ Barry Friesen Recognized for Building Leading Ag Stewardship Programs

BARBARA MCCONNELL, Cleanfarms

The agricultural plant science industry has recognized Barry Friesen, executive director of Cleanfarms, for his long-standing dedication and commitment to agricultural stewardship, helping farmers across Canada manage farm plastic materials when they are no longer needed.

The agricultural stewardship program is like the blue box for household recyclables, except it is for farmers to recycle various types of plastics, such as empty pesticide and fertilizer containers, bale wrap, silage tarps, grain bags and baler twine.

CropLife Canada presented the Cam Davreux Stewardship Award to Mr. Friesen at an awards ceremony which took place in Ottawa, Ontario recently.

In his presentation remarks, CropLife Canada’s President and CEO, Pierre Petelle, noted Mr. Friesen’s work in agricultural stewardship began when he took on the role of leading Cleanfarms, more than a decade ago, when CropLife separated its empty pesticide container recycling and obsolete pesticide collection initiatives into a stand-alone stewardship organization.

“Barry has been relentless in his efforts to increase participation in ag recycling programs and to help Canadian agriculture become more sustainable, as it works towards a zero-plastic-waste strategy. He has taken ag recycling to new heights by expanding collection to include other agricultural waste products such as grain bags, totes, twine and bale wrap,” Mr. Petelle said, in congratulating Barry Friesen.

Mr. Friesen said, being presented with this particular award was a highlight in his career.

“Cam Davreux was a pioneer in agricultural stewardship. He was instrumental in transforming the plant science’s vision, to recover agricultural packaging for recycling, to reality. He also laid the groundwork to recover old, obsolete pesticides for proper disposal management. His early work opened the door for Cleanfarms to expand the range of materials we collect for recycling and for proper disposal management today. Cleanfarms has developed into a world recognized ag stewardship organization that offers Canadian farmers sustainable options for managing farm-based packaging and ag products. I am exceptionally proud to receive this award created to celebrate Cam Davreux’s achievements,” Barry said.

Mr. Friesen’s career spans decades in leading public and private sector positions which have focused on establishing and improving the recovery and diversion of packaging, paper and resource materials for recycling, instead of disposal in landfill. Prior to his position as executive director of Cleanfarms, he was: the Regional Vice President of Product Care Association, where he helped establish Ontario’s Municipal Hazardous and Special Waste Program; Director of Waste Services for the Region of Niagara in Ontario; and the Resource Manager, Solid Waste, for Nova Scotia’s Department of Waste, where he launched the province’s solid waste-resource management strategy.

He is a professional engineer and holds a degree in mechanical engineering from the Technical University of Nova Scotia.

Cleanfarms is a non-profit agricultural industry stewardship organization which contributes to a healthier environment and a sustainable future, by recovering and recycling agricultural and related industry plastics, packaging and products. It is funded by its members in the crop protection, seed, fertilizer, animal health medication, and ag plastics industries. Through a network of more than 1,500 recycling collection sites across Canada, Cleanfarms’ recycling programs enable farmers to keep valuable resource materials out of landfill and the environment, and reinvested in the circular economy.

Cleanfarms has staff located in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec.

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