In June nationwide crop-packaging distributor ProAg-Wearparts joined the Plasback on-farm plastics recycling scheme. By doing so, it becomes the third significant distributor of hay and silage nets, twines and wraps to join the Plasback scheme in 2022.
ProAg-Wearparts development manager Nathan Wycherley says the company joined Plasback to support its customers and the wider agricultural industry as they work to establish world-leading sustainability practices.
“We have been concerned about the lifecycle of agricultural plastic for some time, and today there is much more awareness of the issue among farmers and the public,” Nathan says.
“Plasback is currently the only government-approved product stewardship scheme in the country that deals with silage film.
“They have invested a lot of money to build up their service. We hope that our support will help them continue to develop a collection service that is economically viable to our customers and provides more efficient processing of used silage wrap.”
Plasback commercial manager Neal Shaw applauds the leadership shown by ProAg and the other agricultural consumables suppliers that have joined the scheme.
“Now that ProAg has joined us, we have the support of the suppliers of more than 90 percent of the stretch film and silage covers sold in New Zealand. It sends a clear message to the wider industry and government that this sector is serious about recycling and product stewardship.”
Neal says that the Ministry for the Environment has set a target date of June 2024 to have a mandatory, industry-wide product stewardship scheme in place for all agricultural plastics.
Discussions about the shape of that scheme are now underway. Plasback wants to ensure any levies applied do not significantly increase the amount that farmers have to pay to cover the cost of recycling.
“Plasback has shown that when farmers and suppliers directly cover some of the cost of collection and reprocessing, it is possible to provide an efficient, cost-effective service. We want this model to be part of any future product stewardship scheme,” Neal says.
“Now that virtually all Kiwi silage wrap distributors are part of Plasback, we can advocate on their behalf and on behalf of industry bodies, such as Fonterra, that support our service.”
Former Manawatu sheep, beef and deer farmer John Wycherley established ProAg in 2010. In 2018 ProAg acquired and merged with ag machinery parts supplier Wearparts.
Today ProAg-Wearparts provides wearing parts and crop packaging throughout New Zealand from their central base in Feilding and storage and dispatch centres in Dunedin, Christchurch and Auckland.
“Our staff have a range of hands-on farming experience and real world knowledge. With our family’s farming background, we understand the challenges farmers face and the value they provide to our communities and the national economy.
“We also know the value that farmers place on high-quality products. We source our wrap, net, twine and ag parts from leading manufacturers in North America, Europe and the UK. We have trialled these extensively before introducing them to the market,” Nathan says.
The main crop packaging brands that ProAg supplies are Sun Film and Magnum silage wrap, La Mouette and MaxNet net wrap and Cordex bale twine. It also supplies grain bags and pit covers.
In addition to ProAg, the other companies that have become Plasback sponsors this year are Webbline and Integrated Packaging. Companies that joined the scheme prior to that are Grevillia Ag Tulloch Farm Machines, Nutritech, Donaghys and Agpac.
Neal says as the pressure on farmers to deal with their waste plastic builds, some potential recyclers may look to cut corners by collecting loose plastic rather than use Plasback’s bin and liner system.
This can reduce the value of the waste plastic to manufacturers because it is dirty and more difficult to deal with.
“The bin and liner system we introduced to New Zealand almost 16 years ago works well, and the factories we sell to appreciate it. We don’t want to see the New Zealand get a reputation for supplying low-quality recyclables.”
For further information contact Neal Shaw on 027 438 4254 or firstname.lastname@example.org.