APE are delighted to report that the inclusion of silage film in the scope of the packaging tax has be reconsidered by HMRC. APE UK has worked alongside the farming and manufacturing industry stakeholders to explain the specific properties of silage film and its unique role in farming. An important factor in the HMRC decision was also the existence of the APE industry led recycling scheme and the positive outcomes it is starting to deliver in increasing farm plastics recycling. 

APE UK is a key pillar in the agricultural industries overall commitment to the sustainable use of farm plastics. We look forward to continuing the development of the national collection and recycling scheme to support the responsible handling of used farm plastics in the UK.

UK National
Collection Scheme


To provide farmers with a sustainable solution to the environmentally responsible management of non-packaging agricultural plastics and to increase the quantity and quality of plastics collected.

It is estimated that only 30% of used non-packaging agricultural plastics are being collected in the UK, landfill or incineration remain the only other options for farmers. The objective of the scheme is to increase the quantity collected to over 70% within 5 years, as has been achieved in other countries where similar schemes operate, thereby reducing the amount going to landfill or being burned on farm.

This is a non-profit, industry led, collective initiative of all stakeholders designed to help farmers and at the lowest cost through the shared responsibility of producers, distributors and farmers. The scheme exempts agri-plastics of new Government taxes on plastic packaging introduced from April 2022.


Who is responsible for the scheme?
Producers and distributors of agricultural plastics representing 80% of the UK market have financed the launch of the scheme but unions, associations and collectives representing farmers are invited to be directly involved in the management of the scheme, which has been set up as a non-profit organisation.

Who are the collectors of the scheme?
All existing collectors are invited to join the scheme but are not obligated to do so. Farmers can continue to use any collector they may already be working with. The scheme is not designed to interfere with the business of existing collectors but rather to support farmers and collectors of the scheme to increase the quantity of non-packaging plastics collected.


Phase One:
2019-2020: set-up and implementation.

Phase Two:
2021- collection start via the scheme’s national network.


What plastics?
Non-packaging agricultural plastics: silage wrap, bale net, bale twine, silage sheets, greenhouse film, small tunnel film and mulch film. Other non-packaging plastics will be introduced in later years, such as: flexible irrigation pipes, anti-hail nets, silage protection sheets, crop fleece and other non-wovens.

What cost?
In 2020, the 2p/kg Environmental Protection Contribution (EPC) implemented for all product categories has allowed the scheme set-up for first collection operation in early 2021 Unchanged in 2021, the EPC will be subject to modification depending on the collection rate and resulting financial needs of the scheme.

What benefit?
Farmers will have universal access to the scheme throughout all regions of the UK and a cost-effective solution to the environmentally responsible end-of-life management of their used plastics. Farmers will be provided with best practice guidance how to sort, store and prepare their used plastics for collection, thereby increasing the technical and cost efficiency of the scheme. The success of the scheme will reduce the need for Government to introduce new legislation, red tape and unnecessary extra taxes.


Collectors who have used APE to recycle agricultural plastics used for baling, protection and crop growth.

Agri-Plastics Circular Economy


> Look out for our guidance notes on how best to sort, store and prepare your used plastics.
> Think about how you manage your used plastics today.
> Ask yourself if you could be more environmentally responsible with your used plastics.
> Encourage your neighbours to consider how they can do more too.
> Encourage your preferred collector to join the network of collectors of the scheme.
> Ask your plastics supplier any questions you may have so that we can learn more about your views, needs and suggestions and so together we can make this scheme a success.
> Please remember that this scheme is for you and for a better environment for all.


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APE UK collaborates with


Ian Creasey