Australia's Plasback plastics recycling scheme aims to turn farm waste into useful products like floor tiles, compost bins; country's farm industry estimated to discard more than 100,000 tonnes of used plastics/year

April 30, 2013 () – WHAT to do with that unwanted plastic silage wrap or twine discarded when spreading fodder?

Some farmers will bury or illegally burn it, but a more constructive approach is to turn it into something useful again through, for example, the Plasback farm plastics recycling scheme, now in its third year of operation in Victoria.

An industry estimate claims more than 100,000 tonnes of used farm plastics are discarded each year.

Available in Victoria, NSW and South Australia, the Plasback scheme has been developed with the help of councils, dairy companies, Landcare groups and regional waste management groups.

Plasback, an initiative of Australian crop protection plastics supplier Tapex, recycles the waste into such useful products as Tuffboard, a durable, waterproof plywood replacement, Tuffdeck floor tiles (used in sheep sheds), compost bins and worm farms.

Program manager Darrell Butler said farmers could drop waste plastic into their local council tip, where silage wrap and pit covers could be deposited in a green Plasback bag and baling twine into a red bag.

``The biggest issue in recovering farm plastics for recycling in the past has been the freight cost,'' Mr Butler said.

``Now an Australian-made Hydrapac baler, funded by Sustainability Victoria, has helped dramatically reduce these costs by baling the plastics on-site.

``The baler, which is mounted on a tandem trailer, compresses about 11 Plasback liner bags of silage wrap into one bale for economical transport.''

To recycle with the scheme, buy Plasback silage wrap or twine liners online, fill them on-farm, then take them to your nearest drop point.

For more information or your nearest drop site, go to www.plasback.com.au

Another operator in this field, Integrated Recycling, is an initiative of the Integrated Packaging Group, based in Melbourne.

IPG moved into large-scale recycling with a takeover of Mildura company Ausplaztik in 2010.

Waste plastic is recycled into the company's ``Envire'' range of bollards, fencing, benches, seats, tables, decking, park furniture, signs, posts, walkways, retaining walls, boardwalks, rope ladders and pallets.

Ausplaztik's business began with the idea of using plastic from old grapevine covers in the Sunraysia district and turning them into vine posts that, unlike treated wooden posts, would not leach contaminants into the environment.

Ausplaztik's material has minimal water absorption, is fire-resistant and can be screwed, nailed, drilled, routed and painted.

For details, go to www.integratedrecycling.com.au or phone 1300 729 253.
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