SIFT is able to help a variety of projects get started through a number of different types of funding. Agpac is great example of SIFT helping out with a grant. Agpac needed some funding to develop a wash plant with an aim to recycle baleage wrap from farms.
Farm feed wrapped in Baleage
While supplying baleage wrap (and other polythene products) to the rural sector Agpac wanted to find a way to reuse, recycle or dispose of baleage wrap and plastic silage pit covers sustainably. As producers of the packaging they felt it was their responsibility to ensure that it was disposed of appropriately with minimal harm to the environment. Currently, the wrap is either burnt (polluting the atmosphere), buried or left to blow around the rural property, causing environmental damage. The difficulty in recycling it, however, is its high contamination with manure, water, mud and damage.
Used baleage wrap container (made from recycled baleage wrap)
Agpac developed an easy-to-use bin for farmers to put their old and used baleage wrap into, decreasing the chance of contamination (and then increasing the amount of baleage wrap that can be recycled). This is then collected, shredded, washed then recycled. The old baleage wrap is then turned into the baleage wrap collection bins (as in the photo above). Agpac’s goal is to have every farmer in NZ with a baleage wrap collection bin.
The grant from SIFT was to help with research and development and the trialing of the recycling process. They are now in their fourth year and take around 280 tonnes of plastic wrap from farms. This is a great example of product stewardship in action – Agpac supply crop packaging products and then take back and recycle used packaging for responsible reuse – thus diverting more waste from landfill. We need more of this across all industries.
Agpac also bring in recycled bins from Italy (made from recycled Polypropylene and Polyethylene) to help make recycling and waste sorting easy. Called Urba there are 7L kitchen caddies, 40L stackable towers, breathable compost bins with bio bags and a range of other bins to make recycling (and diverting waste from landfill) easier. SIFT has one of the compost bins in our office and it doesn’t even smell.
Agpac also make Tuffboard recycled plastic sheeting and compost bins made from recycled HDPE plastic.
This morning Chris Hartshorne, Recycling Manager from Agpac joined SIFT CEO Linda Norris on PlainsFM’s GreenBiz segment to talk about the history of the idea to recycle the baleage wrap, how the initiative affects the supply chain for retailers and brand owners, the bins, farms, how the waste is collected, producer responsibility and product stewardship (whether it should be mandatory or voluntary). Here is the podcast.
Agpac's Chris Hartshorne with their Urba recycling bins at PlainsFM
Agpac will also be opening a new compressor tomorrow – another step in making their producer responsibility/product stewardship recycling scheme more streamlined and efficient.