An on-farm plastic recycling initiative, Plasback, seems to be gaining momentum as the agricultural industry moves to reduce its environmental impact.
One will help the on-farm plastic recycling scheme Plasback purchase baling and wrapping equipment, so it can transport waste plastic more cheaply, while the second will help the rural recycling programme Agrecovery devise a scheme to collect farm plastics that are currently uneconomical to recycle.
All farm plastics such as fertiliser, feed and bulk one tonne sacks will become priority products under the Waste Minimisation Act, so will have to be covered by a product stewardship scheme, meaning the farm plastics supply chain, from manufacturers through to consumers, will be responsible for recycling left-over plastic products and plastic packaging.
Plasback manager Chris Hartshorne says the Ministry of the Environment’s Covid Response and Recovery Fund (CRRF) is donating $442,000 to improve its collection efforts, and Plasback will match this amount. “We will use the $884,000 to buy three new purpose-built, waste compacting balers, five stationary wrappers, and three telehandlers. We will install one baler in Northland, one in the Bay of Plenty and one in South Canterbury.”
Hartshorne cites the logistics of shipping loose plastic from Northland to Matamata, where it is currently baled, making the process very inefficient. A baler located in Northland will help reduce the number of trips made to Matamata by 75 percent. Plasback also aims to keep plastic collection costs from farms as low as possible.
Plasback also reports that more companies are recognising the value in being part of an accredited recycling scheme, with silage wrap suppliers Grevillia Ag and Nutritech now joining Plasback, so they can support their customers’ efforts to recycle waste plastic.
Agrecovery commercial manager Richard Carroll reports the WMF is contributing $178,200 so that Agrecovery can develop a preferred product stewardship scheme for farm plastic for the Ministry for the Environment.
This project will bolster existing recycling services for farmers and growers, like the ones Agrecovery provides for agrichemicals and Plasback provides for silage and bale wrap.
Richard says there is considerable scope to reduce waste and increase the recovery of used resources, resulting in environmental, social and cultural benefits.