More and more farmers are asking Environment Waikato where to recycle plastic wrapping from silage bales.
Environment Waikato sustainability coordinator Susa Kupa has received dozens of phone calls from farmers looking for advice, especially over the past two months.
“People are buying in a lot more silage because of the drought and they’re now stuck with the problem of how to responsibly dispose of the waste,” she said.
“Burning or burying it is simply not an acceptable option to many farmers. They care about the environment and I guess it’s that true Kiwi number-eight-wire spirit – they don’t want to waste something that could be recycled back into useful farm products.”
There is a silage plastic recycling scheme operating in the Waikato, run by plastic supplier Agpac.
“Nine silage contractors in the Waikato region are currently affiliated with this scheme,” Ms Kupa said.
“Farmers can buy a small or large recycling bin and pay a fee to their contractor to pick up the plastic and send it off for recycling.
“This may be a good option for farmers who regularly buy in silage and your local contractor will be able to tell you whether they offer the service.
“However, because of the cost of the bins, this may not be an appropriate solution for everyone, especially those buying in silage as a one-off because of the drought, or for those on lifestyle blocks.
“If the Agpac scheme is not suitable for you or available in your area, I would recommend calling your district or city council, which is responsible for waste management. They may be able to offer a solution and, at the very least, it will alert them to the high demand for a silage wrap recycling option.”