As the winter fodder season ends, significant quantities of waste farm plastic have built up on farms throughout the county. The waste farm plastics include silage bale wraps, silage pit covers, plastic packaging for fertiliser and meal ration and agricultural chemical containers.
According to recent records, approximately 1,300 tonnes of waste farm plastic has been collected annually by authorised waste collectors in Clare through temporary collection bring centres and on-farm collections. To put this in context, the amount of waste farm plastic collected and recycled each year is equivalent to 650,000 silage bale wraps.
Waste farm plastic collections will take place at the following locations during May: Scariff Mart (16th), Sixmilebridge Mart (17th), Lissycasey Creamery (18th) Quilty GAA (22nd), Labasheeda GAA (23rd), Kilrush Mart (24th) Kilfenora Mart (25th) Ennis Mart (26th) and Inagh Central Waste Management Facility (30th, 8.30am-4.00pm)
The temporary bring collection sites are being authorised for use by the operators of the sites, and have been approved by Clare County Council. All contractors and onward recycling facilities used by IFFPG will have necessary permits and licences in place.
Meanwhile, Clare County Council is reminding farmers who are not availing of the IFFPG temporary bring collection sites that they must dispose of their waste farm plastics in an environmentally safe manner. This can be done by ensuring that only waste collectors with a valid waste collection permit are used and that waste farm plastics are brought to facilities or temporary bring sites that have appropriate authorisation. Farmers are advised to contact Clare County Council should they have any queries regarding waste farm plastic collections or waste collectors.
When a farmer purchases farm plastic for use in wrapping of silage bales or covering of silage pits from a compliant retailer, there is an in-built charge, known as the recycling levy, which is applied to the sale price of farm plastic product. This recycling levy is used by IFFPG to help fund and operate the temporary collection bring centres and on-farm collections throughout the country, in order to ensure that waste farm plastic is collected and recycled in an environmentally safe manner.
The sale of all levied plastic is recorded, using a special labelling system, allowing IFFPG and Clare County Council to monitor and track the sale of farm plastic. When farmers purchase farm plastic from a compliant retailer, they are provided with a sales receipt and a valid label code as proof of payment of the recycling levy.
It is through providing proof of this valid label code, in conjunction with the sales receipt, at a bring centre or on-farm collection operated by IFFPG, that a farmer may avail of the subsidised collection rate on waste farm plastic. Currently, the IFFPG levy system is the only compliance system for the supply of farm plastic in County Clare.
Commenting on the supply of farm plastics, Mayor of Clare, Councillor Pat Hayes, stated, “It is important that the system is supported by farmers because a failure to pay the appropriate recycling levy on farm plastic purchased will result in a reduction in funding to the collection scheme and increased costs to farmers when seeking to dispose of waste farm plastic following the winter fodder season”.
Anyone who supplies farm plastic that is not part of a registered compliance scheme is breaking the law. The purchasing of so-called unlevied farm plastic will also act to undermine compliant farm plastic retailers and agri-businesses in County Clare, potentially putting businesses and jobs at risk. Any unlevied farm plastic may also be of inferior quality and can result in spoiled fodder, which may not be noticed until months later when the winter fodder season is underway.
Director of Services for the Transportation, Water Services and Environment Directorate in Clare County Council, Anne Haugh stated: “Clare County Council will continue to work proactively with the farming and agri-business communities in order to ensure that waste farm plastics are managed and recycled in an environmentally sound manner and that farm plastic products are supplied in compliance with farm plastics regulations”
“Farmers, like households and businesses, are required to ensure that all wastes arising from day-to-day activities on farms are managed in a correct manner. The burning or burying of waste farm plastic is against the law, and may have serious impacts upon human health and the environment. It is important that farmers retain all documentation relating to farm waste recycling and disposal,” added Ms. Haugh.
Further information on the bring site locations and dates and times of operation may be obtained from the IFFPG website, www.farmplastics.ie. Further information on the supply, purchase, collection and recycling of farm plastics can be obtained from the Clare County Council website, www.clarecoco.ie, or by contacting the Waste Enforcement Section of Clare County Council by telephone on 065 6846331.
Note to Editor:
The regulations referred to are Waste Management (Farm Plastics) Regulations, 2001 (S.I. No. 341 of 2001) and enforcement of the regulations in Co. Clare is the responsibility of Clare County Council.