31 October 2013
Agrecovery silage plastic recycling update
The Agrecovery Rural Recycling Programme has announced it is withdrawing from collecting and recycling used silage plastics from mid 2014.
Agrecovery has collected over 700 tonnes of used silage plastics from New Zealand farms over the past four years. However a combination of rising transport costs, ongoing contamination issues and a lack of local recycling solutions has led to the service operated by Agrecovery being no longer viable under present market conditions.
Agrecovery chair Graeme Peters emphasised that the core Agrecovery programmes for empty agrichemical and animal health containers and unwanted or expired agrichemicals are unaffected and continue to grow rapidly.
“We will be focusing maximum effort into increasing the recovery of containers and waste chemicals in the years ahead,” Peters said.
Meanwhile farmers should continue to recycle their silage wrap through the remaining scheme provider, Plasback. In fact the change should clear some confusion over who provides silage wrap recycling.
“Agrecovery is intent on recycling becoming standard practice on New Zealand’s rural properties and we are working with Plasback to ensure that positive momentum is not lost with silage plastic recycling,” Peters said.
Plasback Scheme Manager Chris Hartshorne said: “We’re working with the Agrecovery Foundation to achieve an orderly transition with no loss of confidence by farmers in the recycling of silage plastics. For us it’s business as usual. We intend Plasback liners to be available from all rural retail stores over the coming weeks.”
Peters says Agrecovery’s decision to withdraw from silage wrap collection and recycling is disappointing but unavoidable, and has only been made after a significant period of reassessment.
“The Foundation and our industry stakeholders would be keen to continue offering a solution for this large-scale farm waste however the cost of on-farm collection, consolidation and export for recycling is not being covered by the user-pays fees which largely fund the programme, and other funding opportunities have been exhausted.”
“We remain absolutely committed to our core container and chemical programmes. These are funded by close to 60 participating brand owners, meaning participation is free to farmers and growers, and all container plastic is recycled in New Zealand into approved end-use products. It’s a very different model to what we could offer for silage plastics, and one that we believe delivers the most sustainable results long term.”