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Farmers now have ability to recycle agri-plastics

Free recycling of agricultural plastics became a reality for nearly 500 farmers and marine boat wraps in central Minnesota on April 7, it was announced by Brita Sailer, director of Recycling Assoication of Minnesota.  

During the week of April 3 to 7, a total of 516 new recycling dumpsters were dispersed by the Revolution Plastics Company, based out of Arkansas, at no cost to the participants who had qualified for the program in what is a truly revolutionary way to manage a deluge of unwanted plastic, Sailer stated.

The Recycling Association of Minnesota and project partners Stearns, Sherburne, Benton, Pope, Douglas, Otter Tail, Sibley, Nicollet and Le Sueur counties announced that the Revolution Plastics program dramatically expanded by placing 516 of the new dumpsters with Central Minnesota farmers and a few marine dealers last week. These join the 134 dumpster that went out to Winona County farmers in December 2016.

“This is a huge step forward in managing these plastics in Minnesota, one that has been in the process for more than three years, which, without Revolution Plastics, would not have happened, Sailer explained in a news release.  Pick-up trucks with flatbed trailers from all counties within an 80-mile radius of Sauk Centre were on the road early in the morning on April 3 and throughout the week to make their scheduled appointment with Price Murphy, director of operations for Revolution Plastic, who was in charge of checking out the free dumpsters for use by area farmers and marinas.

These collection bins have been placed on a route to be emptied by Revolution Plastics at no cost to the farmers. The dumpsters are expected to collect an average of 2,000 pounds of plastic each per year. This will mean that within the next year, at least 1,032,000 pounds of ag plastic and boat wrap will now be recycled rather than buried in a landfill, or in some cases, burned or buried on site. According to Murphy, Revolution Plastics had 2,200 dumpsters on farms as of January 2017 in Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa and now Minnesota. That number increased to 2,716 as of last Friday. The Minnesota collections started in Winona County in December 2016 with 134 dumpsters contributing to the current aggregate of 1 million pounds of plastic per month being recycled in Wisconsin and the Winona County area.

“In 2015, Revolution Plastics recycled its 1 billionth pound of agricultural plastic through its programs,” said Murphy.

From April 3 to 7, farmers coming to the dispersal site at midpoint in the day often remarked on the number of trucks and flatbeds loaded with the white Revolution dumpsters they passed on the roads throughout the area. Before the week was out, over 500 of the dumpsters were on farms collecting agricultural film plastics, commonly known as ag wrap, bunker covers, silage bags and bale wrap on the farm sites. Several boat dealerships and marinas also received dumpsters for use at their businesses for recycling the blue and white plastic, which they have now begun to remove from the boats they have in storage.

The Recycling Association of Minnesota and the consortium of Minnesota counties and partners including Minnesota Milk, Land O’ Lakes, First District Milk Association, the MPCA and others, are “very pleased to announce this huge step forward in managing these plastics in Minnesota,” Sailer stated.

This story was contributed by Brita Sailer, director at Recycling Association of Minnesota

The Starbuck Times
The Starbuck Times