19 October 1998 18:39 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (CNI)--The UK government has urged industry in England and Scotland to tackle the growing problem of collection and disposal of non-packaging farm plastics through voluntary schemes and an extension to the existing waste management controls.
But it has also proposed an alternative option under which producers would be forced to recover and recyle annual quotas of non-packaging farm plastics waste.
The options to tackle the growing problems from waste silage wrap and crop covers are proposed in a consultation document published Monday by the Environment Department.
In an accompanying statement Environment Minister Michael Meacher said: "The government's recommendation is for the first option, which will be less burdensome on the farmers, and only if this approach proves insufficient to deal with the problems should producer-responsibility regulations be considered."
A deadline of 15 December has been set for industry replies.
Non-packaging plastics used on farms are not covered by the Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations 1997. The government wants the plastics collected and disposed of by a combination of industry schemes and extending the waste management controls to cover agricultural waste.
The problem of waste plastics was previously handled by the Farm Films Producers Group (FFPG), which was funded by a voluntary levy on plastics manufacturers. But the FFPG's scheme collapsed in early 1997 because of some importers refused to pay the levy and undercut competitors, said the Environment Department. It added the new problems with waste plastic have been highlighted principally by farmers.
The Environment Agency in Wales launched its own scheme to collect waste silage wrap in July.
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