Ag plastics recycling pilot launched in north-west Victoria

Wentworth Shire

Farmers can drop-off their old table grape covers, irrigation tube and grain silo bags for free during a pilot program to improve the collection and recycling of agricultural plastics in Sunraysia and Loddon.

The pilot program is being launched this week in conjunction with the Mallee Regional Innovation Centre strategic plan, which focuses on research and development in horticulture, water, energy and the environment that can be implemented to transform the region.

The pilot is part of the National Agricultural Plastics Stewardship Scheme, which is working to develop a viable market to recycle agricultural plastics. It is being led by agricultural consultancy firm RMCG in collaboration with Growcom and a diverse range of partners and local businesses in the region.

“Plastic waste is a huge problem for our primary producers in Australia. As there are limited options for recycling this type of waste, it is often disposed of in harmful ways that can pollute our environment,” RMCG Principal Dr Anne-Maree Boland said.

“We know industry want to do the right thing and this pilot provides an opportunity to work with industry leaders, collect end-of-life agricultural plastics and turn these products back into new ones to help farmers reduce waste and save money.”

From May to October 2022, collection sites will be open in Mildura, Swan Hill and Ouyen. Materials are free to drop-off at the collection sites, with a fee-for-service farm collection available for large amounts of agricultural plastic.

“We are only collecting table grape covers and irrigation tube from horticulture and grain silo bags from broadacre cropping, as these materials are the most problematic for the region,” said RMCG Project Manager Carl Larsen who is coordinating the pilot.

“Following the results of the pilot, we hope to develop a broader scheme that makes it easier to collect and recycle more agricultural plastics in Sunraysia and Loddon and other regions around Australia.”

Mr Larsen said it was easy to prepare table grape covers, irrigation tube and grain bags for recycling.

“The plastic needs to be clean and rolled for collection, so make sure you separate all materials and brush off any excess dirt and plant matter. Retrieval equipment will be available to help producers prepare their irrigation tube and grain bags,” he said.

Drop-off sites and collection times

▪ Mildura Rural City Council landfill, 15 Scherger Dr, Mildura VIC 3500

Tuesdays 8:15am-4:45pm, Wednesdays 8:15am-4:45pm and Thursdays 8:15am-4:45pm

▪ Swan Hill Rural City Council landfill, 6859 Sea Lake-Swan Hill Rd, Swan Hill VIC 3585

Thursdays 8:30am-11:30am

▪ North West Ag Services, 101 Farrell St, Ouyen VIC 3490

The first Wednesday of each month from 3:00pm-5:00pm with a BBQ and networking opportunity.

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