Plasback collectors gear up to handle higher volumes of waste plastic

Scott Campbell News

As the Plasback scheme for recycling waste silage film and chemical containers from farms grows, the contractors who collect the plastic are kitting themselves up with better gear to do the job more efficiently.

Plasback scheme manager Chris Hartshorne says during the financial year ending June 2012 Plasback collected 677 tonnes of waste plastic from New Zealand farms. That is an increase of 30 percent over the 2010-2011 tonnage.

“Our annual figure includes 630 tonnes of waste silage film. This brings the total amount of plastic we have collected since we launched the scheme in 2005 to more than 1600 tonnes,” Chris Hartshorne says.

As a result of the increasing volumes, two of the major contractors who collect waste plastic from farms for the Plasback scheme have added cranes to their trucks. They include Ken Murch Contracting in Southland and Slattery Contracting in Waikato.

Chris Hartshorne says Southland saw the fastest growth in farm plastics recycling during the 2011-2012 year

“Every part of New Zealand recorded an increase in the volumes collected last year. Southland led the pack with a total of 168 tonnes of waste plastic collected from farms. This amounts to a 93 percent increase over the tonnage collected there the previous year,” he says.

Environment Southland pollution prevention officer Leonie Grace says Plasback is an important part of the recycling effort in the province and she applauds the growing support the scheme is receiving from farmers.

“Recycling waste plastic from agriculture will continue to grow in Southland. Environment Southland educates and advises farmers about the need to recycle but we do not collect plastic ourselves. It is up to companies like Plasback to do this, and they are doing a very good job,” Leonie Grace says.

Chris Hartshorne says the result from Southland is outstanding. He thanks all those farmers who have supported the recycling initiative as well as Environment Southland for promoting best practice disposal of plastic waste.

“We are represented in Southland by Ken Murch. Ken has done a terrific job in promoting Plasback and making sure the filled liners are collected from farms as quickly as possible. As more and more farmers come on the scheme the quicker the liners are collected.

“We can also attribute the successful Southland operation to our association with Southland disAbilities Enterprises in Invercargill. They take care of the baling for us, so we only have to move the filled liners we collect from farms a short distance.

Ken Murch has been collecting silage wrap for Plasback for five years. He says with volumes he collected this past year nearly double what he collected the year before, he has been busy. “We recently added 35 more clients. That brings our total to 240, so we will probably gather an additional 80 tonnes next year,” he says.

Recently Ken Murch up-graded his collection service by adding a bigger crane to his collection truck. “We had a Hiab crane in back of the cab before but now I am using an ex-forestry crane. It is bigger and has grabs so we don’t have to muck around with ropes.”

Southland contractor Ken Murch has added a large crane to the back of the truck he uses to collect recycled farm plastic for Plasback.

Matamata-based Plasback collector Roger Slattery has also added a truck with a mounted Hiab crane to his operation. “We used to rely on the farmer loading the bags of recycled wrap onto our trailer. Now they can leave it on a track or tanker loop where it is accessible and we can just pick it up ourselves,” Roger Slattery says.

Slattery Contracting also runs the North Island baler that compacts the bags of wrap collected from farms and readies them for shipping. Roger Slattery says volumes collected from throughout Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Manawatu and Pukekohe continue to grow.




Waikato contractor Roger Slattery has added a truck with a Hiab crane to beef up his capacity to collect waste silage wrap for Plasback.

For more information contact Plasback manager  Chris Hartshorne at 0508 338 240 or .