DEFRA plans new rules for waste plastics

DEFRA has announced plans to introduce laws requiring manufacturers to take responsibility for the collection and recycling of non-packaging farm plastics.

The new rules, due to be laid before Parliament shortly, will place controls for agricultural waste in line with those for all other business sectors.

The agricultural waste regulations mean that farmers will no longer able to dispose of waste, including farm plastics, in ‘farm dumps’ without a landfill permit.

The open burning of plastic waste will also been banned.

The regulations, which will be developed in collaboration with the devolved administrations, will cover England, Scotland and Wales.

Northern Ireland will consider introducing regulations following consultation.

Producer responsibility regulations are already in place for producers that place packaging on the market and it is expected that any collection scheme would be set up to collect both packaging and non packaging farm plastics.

According to DEFRA it is estimated that about 86,000 tonnes of waste plastic are generated on farms in England each year.

Over 90% of holdings produce plastic waste, with packaging waste estimated to be about 21,000 tonnes and non-packaging plastic waste estimated at about 65,000 tonnes per year.