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, non-legislative compliance scheme designed to help farmers and at the lowest possible cost through the shared responsibility of producers, distributors and farmers. It will reduce the need for new Government imposed taxes on farmers’ plastics as have already been introduced elsewhere in Europe, in some cases at several hundred Euros per ton!
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.
December 2019, the setup of the scheme’s network of collectors and bring centres.
December 2020, collections start via the scheme’s national network.
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.
In the first year an Environmental Protection Contribution (EPC) will be included in the price of products equal to 2p/kg for all product categories. Thereafter, the EPC will be subject to modification depending on the collection rate and consequential financial needs of the scheme.
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.
Where will it operate?
A national network of collectors and bring centres of the scheme will be published within 2020.
Where will the extra quantity of plastics go?
All non-packaging agricultural plastics collected by a collector or bring centre of the scheme will go to reprocessors contracted by the scheme, both here in the UK and elsewhere within Europe.
All the producers of the scheme have signed the European Commission’s Circular Plastics Alliance commitment to incorporate 10 million tonnes of used plastics into new plastic products by 2025 and as such have a responsibility to meet the demand for the increased quantity of collected used plastics.
> 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.