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 on farms in Britain. 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 from farms 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-farm collection, or collection points for NPAP which would be free at the point of use for farmers. Producers of NPAP products, (manufacturers and importers), would be required to either join or set up a scheme for the collection and recycling of this waste.
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.
Notes to editors
1. The consultation and more information on non-packaging agricultural waste plastics can be found at www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/consult/agri-plastics/index.htm
Phone: For enquiries please contact the above department