Valpak chosen to research recycling of plastic farm waste

Recycling of plastic waste produced on farms could be about to get easier. A firm has been appointed to carry out research on how the principle of producer responsibility can be extended to cover all the plastic waste generated by the agriculture industry.

Under producer responsibility, the company that makes a product must take responsibility for disposing of that product once it reaches the end of its useful life. Firms must ensure that the product is reused or recycled wherever possible.

The plastic farm waste generated by packaging is already covered by a producer responsibility scheme. But this research will investigate whether other plastics such as mulching film, polytunnel covers, silage wrap and sheets can be included. Of the 86,000 tonnes of plastic waste produced by British farming every year, only a quarter is made up of packaging.

The study is being funded by the Government, but will be carried out by the UK’s largest producer responsibility scheme, Valpak, and ADAS, a former government advisory service on agriculture and horticulture.

Adrian Hawkes, director of policy at Valpak said: “This is a natural extension to our existing work in packaging and WEEE compliance and we will aim to use the experience and expertise we have established in producer responsibility to determine the best solution for the farming industry and its supply chain as a whole.”

Dr Andrew Ainsworth from ADAS said: “This unique partnership brings ADAS’ knowledge, skills and expertise in farming systems and agricultural waste management alongside Valpak’s experience of producer responsibility. Our joint aim is to develop a scheme that is sustainable both environmentally and economically in the long term.”

Jess McCabe

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie