Doing our part to reduce plastic pollution

Published: Apr 18, 2023

At Nutrien, we’re committed to managing waste from our operations to minimize our environmental impact. One way we’re doing this is by investing in programs and resources that help reduce plastic pollution and promoting a culture where reuse and recycling are the norm.

In 2021, we connected with the Ag Container Recycling Council (ACRC), a not-for-profit organization that works to facilitate the collection and recycling of plastics used in the agriculture industry. After starting as an affiliate member company, we’re proud to share that this year, Nutrien Ag Solutions is on board as one of 34 regular member companies.

“We’re happy to be part of the ACRC because what they’re working to accomplish is aligned with our goals,” says Keith Warren, Senior Advisor, Environmental Operations. “Becoming regular members this year is exciting because it gives us a seat at the table to help provide feedback as one of the largest agricultural services companies operating in the US.”

We’re also committed to supporting the ACRC’s marketing, outreach and growth efforts, and several of our employees sit on the Council’s committees for contracting and membership.

Plastic recycling in North America

One of the largest focus areas of waste management for Nutrien Ag Solutions is our plastic chemical containers. These two-and-half to five-gallon jugs of fertilizer and pesticide are sold to our growers, who then return the empty jugs back to us or take them directly to plastic collection sites.

From 2021-2022, Nutrien, in partnership with the ACRC, recycled more than 1.1 million pounds of plastic containers from our Retail locations in the United States. At our Canadian Retail locations, we recycled more than 900,000 fertilizer and pesticide jugs, thanks to our partnership with Clean Farms Canada.

“The ACRC has a technical group that works hard in evaluating and approving the end uses of the recycled plastics,” Keith explains. “Some of those end uses include agricultural drainpipes, industrial pallets for ag chemical and seed packaging, landscape edging and highway and agricultural fence posts.”

Recycling on a global scale

Our recycling efforts don’t stop there. At our operations in Brazil, we’re advancing our search for approved companies that can perform complete recycling of plastic materials. We’re also implementing selective plastic collection sites at our operations, conducting training, raising awareness among employees and seeking alternatives for plastic consumption.

In Argentina, Chile and Uruguay, we’re working to improve the collection and reduction of plastics in our offices, and at our operational sites we’re continuing to document the generation of plastics and finding approved destinations for recycling them.

Our business in Australia has a successful plastic recycling program as well. At certain locations, growers can return plastic chemical containers to be reused, thereby creating a circular economy.

“Our collective efforts across the globe are helping to move us forward in ways that have a net positive impact on the planet,” says Keith. “We’re continuing to collect data, develop solutions and raise awareness to do our part to reduce plastic pollution.”

To learn more about our recycling efforts, click this link to download Nutrien’s 2023 ESG report.