During the winter months at the Wildlife Unit we feed protein supplement to our livestock as well as bait deer with corn for our trapping program. As with many livestock producers, empty feedsacks really can start to pile up this time of year. The big question is what to do with them. As always, there are several options. Naturally, some are better than others. Some people throw empty feedsacks in the back of their pickup truck, only to have them fly out on the highway - not a good option. We certainly do not need more litter along the sides of our roadways.
Others prefer to dispose of them by hauling them to their local landfill or via their normal trash service. This is certainly an acceptable method of disposal; however, with the increasing financial costs and environmental problems associated with landfills, alternative methods of disposal are desirable. Another common method used to get rid of feedsacks is burning. This may also be acceptable, but certainly has it drawbacks. Burning trash may be illegal in some places or at certain times of the year. Additionally, there is always the concern about starting a wild fire. Burning paper readily blows away from the burn site. Air quality is another issue. In the big picture, the emissions from burning feedsacks may be insignificant, but I know that I do not want to be breathing the air directly downwind from a stack of burning sacks. It can get pretty nasty.
Finally, there is reusing and/or recycling. To me, this is the preferred method. It reduces landfill space requirements, litter problems, fire hazards, and recycles a reusable natural resource. Some feed mills will accept and reuse old sacks in good condition. This is an excellent way to put unwanted sacks to good use.
Check with your local mill about this option. Traditional recycling is also an option in some places. This usually involves collecting the sacks and taking them to your local recycling center or collection center. This requires a little effort, but it is worth it.
In our area, I was able to find two places that would accept feedsacks for recycling: Ada Recycling Center (580-436-8100) and Atlas Roofing Company in Ardmore (call Sammy Shumaker at 580-223-3760). The latter uses recycled paper products in their manufacturing process. Hopefully, the list of places accepting this type of waste paper will grow as time goes on. If you are aware of or find any other outlets in our area, please let me know.