New Green Tractor scheme launched to improve farm plastic collections

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A new Green Tractor Scheme has been launched, providing sustainable solutions for plastic used across all sectors of agriculture in the UK. The scheme is primarily focused on the collection and re-processing of used farm plastics, but has a longer term ambition to provide UK agriculture with the ability to recycle all farm plastic packaging by 2030.

Last November the UK’s farm plastic collectors announced a joint initiative now known as the Green Tractor Scheme. One of the purposes is to provide audited totals of the quantity of plastic collected and recycled from UK farms. The Green Tractor Scheme covers the significant majority of the UK’s collectors and includes all of the biggest independent collectors. You can search for your nearest plastics collector on their website here.

The first survey, covering about 80% of the members, shows that 19,974 tonnes of plastic was collected in 2018 and 24,149 tonnes was collected in 2019. Most of the plastic was sent for recycling with only 4% going to landfill. Mark Webb, Chairman of UKFPRS Ltd, which owns the Green Tractor Scheme, commented that:

"The year on year rise in the figures is encouraging when you take into account the considerable difficulties in the recycling markets over the last couple of years. We are not complacent and know there is more plastic to collect. Our biggest challenge, and the one thing that holds all of our members back, is still the woeful lack of overall recycling capacity in the UK. We can collect the material but, if it’s not to be landfilled, it has to have recycling facilities to go to."

The Green Tractor Scheme aims to:

  • Provide audited totals of the quantity of farm plastic collected and recycled
  • Further increase the volume and quality of plastic recycled
  • Educate farmers to reduce contamination within their waste plastic
  • Provide the supply chain with corporate responsibility re plastics they put into the market
  • Assist with exploiting new technology for the reprocessing of farm plastic
  • Lobby government and other bodies as required for support to increase plastic recycling facilities within the UK

The scheme, which is open to all UK farm plastic collectors, operates on a not for profit basis and is funded by the collectors. There is no additional cost to farmers and no levy on new plastic products.

Green Tractor collector members can be identified by their use of the Green Tractor logo.

Further information can be found on their website.

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