ASU Community Partnerships Twine Project

Adams State University’s Community Partnerships has teamed up with a variety of organizations, including Fort Collins Conservation District, Rezolana Institute, National Arts Strategies’ Creative Communities and Fibershed, to draw attention to the environmental impact of plastic baling twine. Plastic baling twine is a material used by agricultural entities to bind bales of hay and other crops together. Farmers and ranchers, by nature, are resourceful and repurpose the twine in many ways. The problem is much bigger than repurposing the twine can solve. 

Photo by Mike Whiteley

With the help of Colorado State University’s Extension office, ASU Community Partnerships estimates that the San Luis Valley produces up to 39 million feet of this substance annually, or about 13 tons, of this polyethylene plastic twine.  Much of this goes to our landfills, adding significant amounts of material that will virtually never biodegrade.  Twine will also impact our local wildlife, who can easily get tangled up in this substance as the wind takes it all over the place.  Perhaps worst of all, many of our farmers will simply burn their twine, which, as an oil based plastic, releases toxic vapors and carcinogens into our air and soil, impacting all of our health.  

 Our Creative Communities’ team is approaching this community challenge through a multi-faceted approach: 1) Raising awareness with up-cycle plastic twine exhibits 2) Entrepreneurial support for micro enterprises selling creations made from this material 3) Developing collection system, including twine drop-off sites, volunteer and work-study support and farmer outreach 4) Networking throughout the state of Colorado to combine efforts and resources 5) Researching the potential of hemp twine (biodegradable) as a baling material replacement

Left: Laura Tyler, Right: Mary Hoffman

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Left: Twine Stand, Center: Twine Tea Set, Right: Twine Hammock