NFU hosts plastic collectors summit

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The issues of plastics in the agriculture industry have been discussed at a plastic collectors summit hosted by the NFU.

More than 25 organisations from across the UK and all involved in the on-farm collection of agricultural plastic came together this week (Monday) at Stoneleigh Park.

Decision makers from the Environment Agency and Defra also attended the workshop, chaired by NFU Vice President Stuart Roberts, where the aim was to come up with solutions to the agriculturalplastic recycling situation.

Asian bans of plastic imports have resulted in farmers struggling to get their plastic collected from farm and some collectors have had to temporarily cease trade. A collection infrastructure which has taken over 10 years to develop hangs in the balance with some members having to send their plastic to landfill and collectors having stockpiles of plastic on-site.

Domestic solutions are required to resolve the problem long term. Collectors need assistance from Government to install solutions where they can improve the contamination status of the plastic such as washing facilities or build processing plants as part of a UK approach.

NFU environment policy adviser Anna Simpson said: “After many years of a well-functioning plastic collection and recycling system, it is criminal that farmers have to send their plastic to landfill. With plastic recycling so high on the Government’s agenda it is now critical the industry gets help to ensure this process can continue.”

The summit will write a joint response to Defra’s latest consultation on reforming the UK packaging producer responsibility system (which can be read here) and submit its solutions to help resolve the problems discussed.