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FUW discovers how farm plastic waste is recycled

Farmers have been to see how the farming industry can dispose of its polythene waste in a greener way at a newly opened state-of-the-art agricultural waste wash plant in Glamorganshire.

Birch Farm Plastics

From left, FUW Glamorgan county executive officer Rachel Taylor, Birch Farm Plastics Cheryl Birch, FUW vice president Lorraine Howells, FUW president Emyr Jones, Ogmore MP and DEFRA shadow, food and farming minister Huw Irranca-Davies and FUW finance and organisation committee member Brian Thomas.

British Polythene Industries (bpi.recycled products), Europe’s largest polythene recycler of 95,000 tonnes of material per annum, opened its Rhymney factory doors to show farmers how they can dispose of items such as silage wrap, feed bags, fertiliser bags and polytunnels.

Farmers’ Union of Wales president Emyr Jones, who attended the visit, said: “The disposal of farm plastics is extremely important for livestock farmers and this new plant makes recycling waste plastics more cost effective for farmers as well as making a significant contribution towards ‘greening’ as a greater proportion of this material can now be recycled within the UK.”

The company said waste farm plastic continues to be a major problem for British farmers and growers with up to 80,000 tonnes of this material generated annually.

Currently, there isn’t sufficient capacity in the UK to recycle all of this material and as a result much of it is exported to countries like Vietnam and Malaysia where it is often recycled using primitive techniques that damage the local environment.

An unacceptably high volume of waste farm polythene in the UK is also still being sent to landfill or, worse still, illegally burnt. bpi.recycled products’ new wash plant helps to reduce these undesirable methods of waste management.

FUW Glamorganshire county executive officer Rachel Taylor, who organised the visit, said: “Many farmers struggle to dispose of plastic from items such as silage wrap and feed bags. Visiting this plant has been a great opportunity for our members to see first-hand how they can solve this problem in an effective and environmentally friendly way.”

Representing an investment of £4.5 million, it is the largest wash plant of its kind in the country and will enable bpi.recycled products to recycle an additional 25,000 tonnes of material, such as used silage bale wrap and horticultural film, each year.

This waste will be used to create new products such as refuse sacks, outdoor furniture and building films.

In addition to being the largest facility of its kind in the country, the new wash plant is also the greenest. To maximise its efficiency and reduce its impact on the environment, it employs features such as low energy, high output motors, energy saving lighting and rainwater harvesting to replace the water lost each day.

Ogmore MP and DEFRA shadow food and farming minister Huw Irranca-Davies, who also attended the visit, said: ” It’s been a tremendous experience to see the full life cycle of recycling agricultural waste plastics into useful commercial products.

“What is particularly inspiring is the way farmers are coming together to help recycling, help each other and in doing so create many jobs here in Wales.”


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