Established collection and recycling systems for plastics waste will play an important role in the expansion of recycling plastics used in agriculture. That was the consensus of participants in the 1st International Recycling Forum for Agriculturally Used Plastics, which took place on 4 - 6 November in Wiesbaden, Germany.
RIGK, which runs collection schemes for used plastics in Germany, organised the conference in co-operation with the European Association of Plastics Recycling & Recovery Organisations (EPRO). Around 120 industry representatives from 22 countries took part in the event, where 24 speakers gave presentations.
Peter Sundt, general secretary of EPRO, said in a statement that recovery systems are being organised and developed by all 18 members of the organisation, which are national associations. Many “have recognised that there are a number of common features between conventional household and industry packs, agricultural packaging and further-reaching applications of plastics in agriculture. For this reason, they have made agricultural plastics a core topic on their agenda,” he said.
An exchange of know-how within EPRO and its members is needed, said Sundt, as “the experience gathered with plastic packaging can be applied to other plastic applications because the materials stem from the same producer sources, and the recyclers are also the same. Bundling existing forces to develop further well-functioning systems is therefore key for the near future. The enormous demand that exists for exchanging ideas and information is demonstrated by the success of this conference."
Other topics addressed at the conference included the issue of removing contamination and the need to produce high-quality recyclate.