Julie Tate, Senior Policy Adviser at Natural Resources Wales recently provided an article for the NFU Cymru membership magazine which set out the changes to waste plastics and what farmers can do as a result. She said:
Low grade plastics – which can be plastic film or netting - are often used on farms as silage, hay and stray bale warp, crop covers and poly tunnels. Indeed, these types of agricultural plastic represent about 30% of the waste produced on farms, according to Welsh Government figures.
There have been changes in the global markets for waste plastics, and we know that there are no longer dedicated collection schemes for farm plastics.
And as a result, we share the concerns of the agricultural sector, farm assurance schemes, land users and fisheries groups about the appropriate storage and collection of low grade plastic wastes from farms.
What we really want to avoid is low grade plastics being stockpiled on farms – waiting for a change in the market - and these not being stored properly and resulting in windblown litter in the countryside and in water courses.
So here are the answers to questions we get asked:
Can I dispose of my waste on the farm?
No, the waste must be collected by a registered waste carrier and taken to a site that either has a registered waste exemption or Environmental permit to store or treat waste or a waste permit that allows this type of waste.
You must not bury or burn any plastic waste on a farm. This is an offence.
How do I get my farm plastics collected?
If you are getting someone else to transport your waste, then they must be a waste carrier with a valid registration (please note that lower tier carriers can transport agricultural waste). You can find registered waste carriers on the NRW website.
You can also transport the waste yourself if you have registered as a lower tier carrier, this is simple to do and cost-free. You can register on the NRW website.
How do I store my waste at my farm?
You can store this material using waste exemptions, some of which don’t need to be registered. These are appropriate when temporarily storing it at the place where it’s produced before collection.
You must comply with the conditions of the exemption. There are other waste storage exemptions that you can register on the NRW website.
What if I have several farms?
If you are a farmer with several farms you can collect up the farm plastics and temporary store these at one location. This exemption does not allow you to collect waste produced on other farms not under your control. Again you must comply with the conditions of the exemption. . There are other waste storage exemptions that you can register on the NRW website.
If you still need to know more you can visit the NRW website – or call 0300 065 3000
Alternatively there is information on the Welsh Government website