New recycling system proposed

A new scheme to reduce the amount of non-packaging agricultural plastics (NPAP) such as silage wrap and crop covers going to landfill has been proposed by Defra, the Scottish Government and the Welsh Assembly Government in a consultation published today.

Every year around 83,000 tonnes of waste NPAP is generated in agricultural areas.

Until legislation was introduced in 2006 around 80 per cent of this waste was disposed of by uncontrolled burning or burying on farmland which created environmental hazards.

As the majority of waste NPAP now ends up in landfill, Government has been working with affected industries looking at ways of dealing with these materials in a more sustainable way.

The consultation seeks views on whether the industry as a whole agrees that a recycling system is still needed, and if so it proposes the introduction of either on-site collection, or at free to use collection points.

Under the proposals a target would be set to recycle 80 per cent of waste NPAP within four years – currently only around 20 per cent is recycled.

Environment Minister Dan Norris said: “Many farmers have been calling for a system like this for many years and I am pleased that we are now able to put forward detailed options.  Every industry has a responsibility to minimise their environmental impact and our proposals would help deal with this type of waste in a much more sustainable way.”

Increasing the amount of this plastic that is recycled instead of being sent to landfill would reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the amount of fossil fuels being used to make virgin products.

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