Recycling gains traction
Farmers around Kaikoura are being encouraged to make use of recycling programmes for waste plastic rather than burying or burning it on their farms.
Innovative Waste Kaikoura (IWK) manager Robbie Roche and Environment Canterbury (ECan) Kaikoura manager Kevin Heays are keen to remind farmers of their options for recycling.
"We can take all plastic recycling free of charge [which includes silage wrap], and recycle it at the IWK depot. Alternatively we can pick it up from a farm for a nominal fee," said Mr Roche.
Farmer Barry Schroder has been using the pick-up service and is keen to spread the word around the farming community.
"I think a lot of people don't know about it. We used to be encouraged to burn it, and some people I know use a service in Blenheim [to dispose of the plastic]."
The system is simple - purchase three large plastic bags from CRT for around $50, fill them up (each bag takes more than 100 wraps), and once it is full, IWK staff will collect it from the farm.
Mr Heays said it was extremely encouraging to see the efforts being made on the Schroder farm and others.
"It is recognised that traditionally there is a hole in the ground on every farm . . . this is no longer acceptable and there are responsible farmers who recognise that. There are others who are beginning to get on the tractor and others who do not see the significance of climbing aboard," he says.
"It is extremely helpful to have organisations like Fed Farmers pushing for environmentally sustainable faming practices in our communities."
Both Federated Farmers and Beef + Lamb New Zealand have called for their sector members to adopt greener, more sustainable methods of disposal of their used plastics.
Federated Farmers chief executive Connor English says the organisation fully supports efforts to reduce the impact of farming on the environment.
"‘Environmental stewardship is critical. Recycling is the one way we can turn a perceived environmental negative into a big positive."