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Extension > Local Extension Offices > Stearns > County Agriculture Educator > Articles > Ag Plastic Recycling Taking Another Step

Ag Plastic Recycling Taking Another Step

University of Minnesota Extension, Stearns County News
November 16, 2016         
           
Source:  Dan Martens, Extension Educator
University of Minnesota Extension
Stearns, Benton & Morrison Counties


Ag Plastic Recycling Taking Another Step
By Dan Martens, University of Minnesota Extension

FOLEY, Minn. (11/16/16) — The Minnesota Milk Producers Association reported in a recent newsletter that a solution to the challenge of managing ag plastics such as bale wrap and silage bags may be closer. Revolution Plastics is asking dairy farmers to sign up as they aim bring services to Minnesota. Farms within 80 miles of Sauk Centre will have the first opportunity for this service by February 2017, but farmers need to sign up at RevolutionPlastics.com or call 844-490-7873. Other areas will be added as interest grows. You can learn more about this Wisconsin-based company by doing a website search for “RevolutionPlastics”.

Their web site indicates that they accept only Low Density Polyethylene (#4). This could include: “ag plastics” such as used irrigation tape and tubing; fumigation, greenhouse and hoop house films; and “silage plastics” such as used bale wrap (maybe not net wrap), silage/grain bags, and most bunker covers and oxygen barrier film.

They do NOT accept bunker covers with nylon scrim, twine, net wrap or other mixed plastics. Nylon scrim is plastic sheeting that is imbedded with strands of nylon or a different kind of plastic reinforcement fibers- that usually have a grid or mesh pattern. A farmer reports calling and being told they would take net wrap, so you might want to ask about that specifically if that matters on your farm.

The website also notes that “Not all farms and/or dairies that sign up will qualify for a dumpster.” This might have to do with pickup routes or frequency of use. It might be that two or three farms would share a dumpster. They also list these “best practices” for ag plastic collection in addition to items already noted:
Remove trash, wood, rocks, twine, net wrap, tires and other foreign material.
No need to separate approved ag plastics.
Dispose of plastic in the provided dumpster as soon as possible to prevent excessive dirt.
Compact the plastic as much as possible without damaging the dumpster.
Keep lids closed to prevent moisture.
Keep dumpster in an easily accessible location.

A LESSON FOR ALL. We are fortunate today in having many opportunities to reduce, re-use, and recycle. It is very good that we don’t have to resort to rock piles, junk piles, burying and burning for disposing of many things where we didn’t have other options years ago.

The key to making these channels work is to take care of them by following “best practices for recycling and handling solid waste”. For example, leaving plastic bags or an old screen door at a community drop off site for yard residue raises the cost of providing a public service and potentially reduces the value of the recycled product. A little extra effort on our part can make a significant difference for the rest of the process and help to minimize our costs in fees or taxes…along with taking care of the world around us. The same is true in how we use designated recycling bins.

REMINDERS

U of M Ag Business Management staff are conducting more than 40 Extension Land Rent Workshops during November and December. Some sites in our area include:
Little Falls at the County Government Center on Friday December 9 at 9:30 a.m.
Foley City Hall on Friday December 9 at 1:30 p.m.
Buffalo and Litchfield on Monday December 12.
For more information, do a website search for Minnesota Ag Business Management or call the County Extension Office – in Foley 320-968-5077, in St. Cloud 320-255-6169, in Little Falls 320-632-0161.

Contacts

Daniel Martens
Extension Educator, Ag Production Systems
(320) 968-5077
marte011@umn.edu
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