No hiccups in silage wrap recycling
New Zealand’s largest on-farm recycling company, Plasback, says it is business as usual and all farmers can still safely dispose of their waste silage plastic despite Agrecovery’s recent announcement that it will no longer collect used silage wrap.
Plasback manager Chris Hartshorne says his company has more than enough capacity to collect any outstanding Agrecovery recycling bags from farms. Plasback will honour all current and future bookings of Agrecovery customers.
“We applaud the Agrecovery Foundation’s efforts to raise farmers’ awareness about the importance of product stewardship and the need to protect the environment from non-organic waste. We are working with them to achieve an orderly transition so farmers can retain full confidence in their ability to recycle their waste plastics.
“We will collect both Plasback and Agrecovery liners from farms during the transition.
“Agrecovery customers should continue to request collections through the Agrecovery website or freephone and these details will be sent through to us for collection. Plasback liners will be available from all rural retail stores in coming weeks.”
Last year about 1100 tonnes of waste silage wrap was collected from farms around New Zealand. Plasback gathered 73 percent of that total, and Agrecovery handled the rest.
Plasback pioneered the on-farm bin and liner collection system and has an extensive, nation-wide network of collectors and baling plants to recycle agricultural plastic. It recycles a range of farm plastic, including silage wrap, vine nets, polypropylene bags and twine, irrigation pipe, and Ecolab and FIL 100 and 200 litre HDPE drums.
Plasback has markets for all the waste plastic it collects. It now has plans to expand its network of collectors and processing plants.
Chris Hartshorne says as more farmers join the recycling scheme, it will become more cost effective to operate and more efficient for farmers.
He believes the regulatory environment is shifting, and in future it will not be legal to dispose of potentially harmful waste on farm.
Voluntary product stewardship schemes, such as Plasback, are the cheapest and most efficient way for manufacturers, product distributors, consumers, recyclers and government to work together to handle that waste.
“From January 1st, 2014 there will be a complete ban on burning plastic in Canterbury, and a ban is pending in Southland. Environment Canterbury recently commissioned research to gauge how farmers handle their waste.
“The survey found that on average farms produce about nine tonnes of non-organic waste each year – everything from metal and wood to tyres, plastic and chemical drums. More than 92 percent of that waste is burned, buried or stored. This creates a serious long-term environmental problem, and regional councils are getting more and more concerned about it.
“Currently the Government is considering giving ‘priority product’ status to several products farmers use including agrichemicals, chemical containers, and tyres. Under the Waste Minimisation Act, a priority product must have a product stewardship scheme attached to it before it can be sold.
“We know that voluntary recycling programmes, such as Plasback, are cheaper to run and more effective than systems that apply a levy onto the cost of the product. We hope farmers continue to support voluntary recycling because we don’t want to see mandatory schemes put in place,” Chris Hartshorne says.