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Some tips on plastics recycling and agriculture

Seen here, Arnold Underwood stands with one year’s worth of recycled plastic bags at Burgett Farms in Tully, which participates in the Recycling Agricultural Plastics Project through Cornell Cooperative extension.

Seen here, Arnold Underwood stands with one year’s worth of recycled plastic bags at Burgett Farms in Tully, which participates in the Recycling Agricultural Plastics Project through Cornell Cooperative extension.

Rent a BigFoot baler to produce bales of recycled plastic. These balers are funded by the NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation, and are strategically located in Soil and Water Conservation Districts across NYS.

The reason that it is so important to sort plastics according to color, material type, and cleanliness is because these factors determine what value added product can be produced from the plastics.

For instance, the highest demand is for clean, white/clear plastics that typically originate from bale wrappers. From these plastics products such as sidewalk pavers can be produced for which there is a strong market. Four cities across North America, from California to a suburb of Toronto, have installed Terrewalks sidewalks using recycled bale wrap from NY.

For black, white, and/or mixed colored plastics from ag bags and bunk silo covers, products such as parking lot curbs, landscape timbers or parking lot sign bases can be manufactured. The limiting factor on the production of these products is customer demand from municipalities and the private sector.

Currently, there is ample technology and businesses available in NYS to manufacture these products; there just is not enough demand for such products. Also, the manufacturing process could require a million pounds of waste plastic per year to produce such products.

Plastic Containers

Farmers with ag plastic containers (with a No. 2 recycling label on the bottom) can contact USAg Recycling for service. This company is located in Texas and comes to NYS once per year to provide free recycling services. This free recycling service is made possible by support from the Ag Container Recycling Council (ACRC).

In order for containers to be recycled, they need to:

—Have lids and labels removed and thread/lips are free of dried formulation;

—Be triple rinsed, properly;

—Inside of the containers need to be dry;

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