SPRAY PACK disposal in France is streets ahead of UK efforts to address the problem, as the 2004 FARMERS WEEKLY/Syngenta Farm Sprayer Operator of the Year found earlier this year.

The Adivalor scheme operating in France collected 5% of plastic spray packaging in its first year in 2000. Last year, that rose to 25% and the target is 50% by 2006.

“This leaves the UK way behind our EU colleagues,” said Michael Donnachie, sprayer operator at Ranston Farms, near Blandford Forum, Dorset.

Just how well the system works became evident when Mr Donnachie visited one of the 14 Ageris demonstration farms Syngenta sponsors in France.

At one, Chateau St-Louis la Perdix, empty packs are washed, dried and put into 500 litre plastic bags ready for collection. There are normally at least two collection periods each year.

On collection, distributors check the packs have been washed correctly, before forwarding them on for energy recovery by incineration.

The Adivalor initiative is a co-operation between UIPP*, the chemical manufacturers association, distributors, the government and others.

“An extensive website means details of the scheme and collection points are readily available to farmers,” points out Michel Leborgne of Syngenta France.

Aside from pack disposal, spray handling on the French farm largely mirrored Mr Donnachie‘s own operation in Dorset.

Further details on Mr Donnachie‘s analysis of the French collection system, together with details of how to enter the 2005 Farm Sprayer Operator of the Year competition are available in FARMERS WEEKLY (Nov 26).

*Union des Industries de la Protection des Plantes