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.
2019-2020: set-up and implementation.
2021- collection 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 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.
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.
Regional Collection Managers organise the collector network for APE UK.