Crop packaging manufacturer Agpac is leading the way on a product stewardship scheme that recycles the very crop packaging they manufacturer. You can read more about them here on an old blog post. Baleage wrap is used to wrap bales of hay and other grasses and instead of farmers burning or burying the plastic or leaving it to blow around the farm they can now put it in a handy Agpac collection bin (which also decreases the risk of contamination) and it is then recycled.
Agpac recently opened a new baler with the help of Minister for the Environment Hon. Dr. Nick Smith who is quoted as saying “These initiatives are part of the future for New Zealand’s most important industry. Companies are expected to take responsibility for the full life of their products not just manufacture and sales. This includes removing waste at the end of the product’s life-cycle. Agpac is taking a lead in developing this broader view.”
He also went on to say “New Zealand’s agriculture exports are coming under increasing scrutiny regarding their sustainabiltiy and environmental impact. Currently 10 to 20 percent of agriculture plastics are being recycled and we need to increase this to 100%”.
This new baler has the ability to be transported across the South Island where it can bale up used plastic baleage wrap and sileage pit covers at the farm making it easier for farmers to be apart of the scheme. Agpac’s Chris Hartshorne states that “Product Stewardship is a partnership that includes us as the distributor, our customers, the recycling industry and the reprocessors who create new products from the recycled materials.” This is exactly where all businesses and industries need to be moving to in order to create a sustainable future for New Zealand and its products.
And as Mastagard’s Sebastian Stapleton said in the press release for the new baler farmers need to start looking at where their old products are being sent to for recycling – “There is significant risk that waste plastic shipped to Asia will be processed in environmentally reckless and inhumane conditions”.
As well as a new baler Agpac have recently entered into a new agreement with plastics recycler Mastagard who will recycled the used baleage wrap here in Christchurch. Mastagard recently opened a $5 million wash and plastics recycling plant in Sockburn, which you can read about here. They will also be able to take the agrichemicals plastic containers.
All Agpac and Mastergard need now is for more farmers to be apart of the scheme.