Monday, 19 February 2018 11:50

Getting rid of on-farm plastic

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Agpac’s plastic baler in action. Agpac’s plastic baler in action.

The rules on waste disposal by farmers and growers are changing: the traditional options of burning and burying are no longer allowed. 

The Plasback recycling service collects plastics from farms and sends it for recycling. 

Plasback is a government-accredited product stewardship scheme owned and operated by Agpac Ltd, New Zealand’s largest supplier of crop packaging products. 

It collects such plastics as balewrap, silage covers, twines, drums and polypropylene bags. Plasback operates a bin and liner system for collection. The liner system keeps the plastic cleaner and allows it to be collected in large bags -- easier to collect and bale than loose plastic. 

Plasback owns six recycling balers that handle the large bags of waste plastic. Once baled, the plastic is sent away for recycling. 

Since its start in 2006 the scheme has recycled 10,000 tonnes of used plastics. 

Plasback is now working with Astron Plastics, Auckland, to recycle farm silage plastic into Tuffboard, a plywood-replacement product with many uses on farms. Using new dry-clean technology, silage plastic is heated and treated to clean the shredded film before it is made into pellets. 

Tuffboard is strong, easily cleaned and hygienic. The deer industry uses it in upgrading velveting barns to new hygiene standards. Tuffboard is also used by pig farmers to replace plywood – pigs do not eat the plastic sheet. 

The Tuffboard range has been expanded to both a recycled and virgin plastic. The recycled plastic is black and the virgin a natural colour.

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