FARMERS CONCERNED about how to get rid of a wide range of materials, hitherto disposed of on-farm but soon to be classed as “controlled waste”, should have a new service soon, says Countrywide Farmers.

After nine months of talks, Agri.cycle – a new company set up by a north Lincs farmer and the farmer-owned merchant – is nearly ready to accept such waste for recycling, says Countrywide’s David Kent.

It will include pesticide containers, silage wrap, crop fleeces and feed and fertiliser bags.”

The burning and burying of such materials on-farm is likely to be outlawed as soon as next March.

The new firm, based at PT Moore and Partners” Barff Farm, Caenby, will co-ordinate collections for delivery to recycling firms across the country, explains Mr Kent.

“We have been talking to a number of potential collection agents. It”s an agricultural problem, and we are an agricultural business solving it.”

The only remaining hurdle is gaining local authority planning consent, but that should pose no difficulty, he believes. “It’s already a distribution point and it’s in a rural location.”

A key outlet for the wastes will be Linpac’s plastics recycling plant at Castleford, West Yorks, which makes about 26,000t/year of granular raw materials for industry.

Linpac general manager Alan Davey confirms it is negotiating with Agri.cycle and foresees no practical problem to accepting agricultural wastes, even plastic pesticide containers, provided they are clean.

“We already deal with [similar] drum-grade material from other sources.”

The cost of the Agri.cycle service to growers could be on a tonnage or, more likely, acreage basis, though much depends on whether any landfill tax money is forthcoming to help the project, says Mr Kent.

“There is talk of a landfill subsidy for farmers and various stakeholders are lobbying for that funding. If there is no subsidy we think we can do it for £1/acre.

“However, there are still a number of issues to be clarified, for example the cleanliness of containers. But provided they are triple-rinsed they are classed as non-hazardous.

“But people will need to understand what they are doing, and we shall be producing guidelines for farmers.”