Monday, July 23, 2018

Agri plastic waste collected today ... but where will it go?

The collection of farm plastic waste which has been going on in Kilcullen Mart all day today will take around 100 tonnes of the stuff off the hands of farmers in the area, writes Brian Byrne.

But it doesn't deal with the problem the country has, along with others, of where to send the plastic for recycling. China, which took 95pc of our plastic waste, has closed its doors to waste from Europe since 1 January.

The waste has been arriving in trailers and small trucks all day, being weighed and charged for at a minimum of €15 per half-tonne by Walker Recycling Services based in Portlaoise.

Walker Recycling specialises in dealing with agricultural and horticultural waste, sorting, shredding, cleaning, baling and shipping it to countries which have traditionally recycled it into materials to be used in the manufacture of new products.

Their 'bring centre' collection at Kilcullen today is one of 60 such locations which have been taking the waste from farms throughout the midlands.

Ireland is the worst producer of plastic waste in the EU, according to Eurostat figures, at 61kg per capita a year, compared to Germany in fourth place which produces37kg per person a year.

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Denis Naughten says a Europe-wide solution would be to develop a market for plastic recyclate at a competitive cost.

He also says that improving the quality of collected materials is 'critical' to increased recycling.

Nobody was available at Walker Recycling to comment on how the China 'crisis' is impacting on agricultural plastic waste disposal.

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