Scotland to end exemptions for burning farm plastics

Burning farm plastics under exemption will no longer be an option on farms in Scotland from next year.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) said it would remove 2013 environmental exemptions which allow farmers to continue burning plastics.

The move will affect silage wrap, crop covers, fertiliser bags and containers.

See also: Plastic pollution focuses farms on correct treatment of waste

It follows talks between SEPA, Zero Waste Scotland and NFU Scotland and the new rules will feature ongoing dialogue with farmers and crofters over the coming months.

Gary Walker, SEPA waste and landfill tax manager, said: “Ending the exemption for burning farm plastics is an important next step in stemming the plastic tide by reducing the environmental impacts of farm waste.

“By recycling, farmers are once more doing their bit for the environment, supporting their local community and helping ensure that plastic materials are kept in use for as long as possible by maximising the value that can be extracted from them.”

NFU Scotland vice-president Martin Kennedy said: “Recognising that the spotlight is focused on plastics, it is incumbent on all stakeholders that we help farmers and crofters do the right thing when dealing with the forthcoming ban on burning farm plastics.”

The Waste Management (England and Wales) Regulations 2006 (2005 in Scotland) ended the practice of burning or burying farm plastic, including baler twine, silage film, spray cans, fertiliser and seed bags.

Waste plastic can only be stored on a farm for less than 12 months.

SEPA, NFU Scotland and Zero Waste Scotland have developed a simple set of resources for Scottish farmers, including a list of Scottish recyclers who stand ready to help farmers get plastic waste sorted. Further information is available from the SEPA website