Plastic gets a lot of bad press, but we know it is a necessary evil. The key to finding its place in a more sustainable World is recycling. Over the years, we have thought this is a near-impossible task due to how the products are used and where they are stored.
There are 8 national schemes in place across Europe:
Some of these are just starting, so small tonnages are being recycled, but France is leading the way with fantastic results. Recent figures show that 78% of ALL Agricultural plastic has been collected, and 90% has been recycled and returned to the system. It is a fantastic achievement that shows the rest of the World it is achievable with cooperation from all parties involved.
This link will take you to the Adivalor website, which has more details on their impressive operation:
The idea is to have an agricultural circular plastic economy in which plastics used in agriculture are managed to maximise their value, minimise their environmental impact, and promote their reusability and recyclability. This concept is part of the broader circular economy framework, which aims to move away from the traditional linear "take-make-dispose" model of production and consumption and instead focuses on keeping materials in use for as long as possible.
In agriculture, plastic is widely used for various purposes, including mulching, irrigation, packaging, and protection of crops. However, the extensive use of plastic in agriculture has led to significant environmental challenges, such as plastic pollution, soil contamination, and harm to wildlife. The agricultural plastic circular economy seeks to address these challenges by implementing strategies that ensure plastics are used efficiently and sustainably.
Here are some critical aspects of the agricultural plastic circular economy:
Reduction and Prevention: The first step is to minimise the use of plastic in agriculture whenever possible. This can involve adopting alternative materials or methods less reliant on plastic. Silostop films would be the classic example here. Move to a thinner and more effective product that reduces plastic by up to 60% and retains more crop.
Design for Recycling: Plastics used in agriculture should be designed with recycling in mind. This includes choosing easily recyclable plastics and ensuring they are labelled appropriately for recycling purposes. Compatibility with existing recycling infrastructure is crucial, so check the labels. All Silostop products can go into the recycling system - film, packaging and core.
Collection and Recycling Infrastructure: Establishing collection and recycling systems tailored explicitly to agricultural plastics is essential. These systems might involve collaborating with local farmers, waste management companies, and recycling facilities to ensure that plastics are appropriately collected, sorted, and processed for recycling.
Innovation and Research: Investing in research and innovation can lead to new types of agricultural plastics that are more environmentally friendly, easily recyclable, and less harmful to ecosystems. This could involve creating plastics from renewable resources or designing plastics that break down more quickly in the environment.
Education and Awareness: Raising awareness among farmers, consumers, and stakeholders about the importance of proper agricultural plastic waste management is crucial. Education can lead to better waste disposal practices and increased demand for products made from recycled agricultural plastics.
Market for Recycled Products: Creating a demand for products made from recycled agricultural plastics is essential to close the loop of the circular economy. This might involve promoting the use of recycled plastics in agriculture and supporting the development of markets for recycled plastic products.
Implementing these strategies and fostering collaboration among stakeholders across the agriculture and plastics industries makes it possible to transition toward a more sustainable agricultural plastic circular economy. This approach can help reduce plastic waste, conserve resources, and mitigate the negative environmental impacts of plastic use in agriculture.