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21. May 2019

Agricultural film collection ERDE doubles recycling success – still ecologically and economically attractive in the future

Thanks to the continuing excellent cooperation with farmers, collection points and film manufactures the ERDE recycling initiative has set a new recycling record in 2018. The 13,433 tonnes of used agricultural films that are sent for mechanical recycling represent almost double the quantity collected in the previous year. The cost advantages for farmers that are also valid for 2019 made a substantial contribution to this because of the continuing increase in the number of participating manufacturers, collection partners and collection points.

In its fifth year, the ERDE initiative has continued its success story and almost doubled recycling quantities compared to the previous year. © RIGK

ERDE Recycling, the solution for the environmentally friendly recovery and recycling of used agricultural films, which is borne jointly by environmentally aware film manufacturers and importers, IK Industrievereinigung Kunststoffverpackungen e. V. and RIGK, offers farmers and agricultural service supply agencies a cost-effective, nationwide return option for their used agricultural films, also in 2019. ERDE provides this service without limitations as in previous years, even though the changes to Chinese waste policy has also caused an oversupply of high quality plastics waste on the internal market, thus significantly reducing the trade outlet for soiled plastics waste such as agricultural films.

ERDE is mastering this unfavourable starting position through its excellent cooperation with the farmers who supply their used films to the collection points roughly pre-cleaned, sorted into fractions and thus in higher quality condition. The recovery service is also so attractive because the participating film manufacturers financially support all the logistics associated with collection and recovery. ERDE is able to send all the collected films to mechanical recycling thanks to the cooperation by all the participants. This offers farmers an advantageous option in comparison to expensive conventional waste disposal – given the capacity bottlenecks at waste incinerators – both from ecological and financial points of view.

ERDE Recycling collects used agricultural films and sends 100% of them to mechanical recycling. The recovered granulate can be used again in film manufacture.

The hard numbers show the continuing success of ERDE over five years now. The collection quantity doubled in 2018 compared to the previous year, now achieving 13,433 t of silo foils and stretch films that can be recycled. This corresponds to a CO2 equivalent of 19,486 t of carbon dioxide – a quantity absorbed by over 1.4 million trees annually. 68 collection partners operate 408 collection points, 86 more than in 2017, and ERDE will enlarge the nationwide network of collection points again in 2019. The number of collection dates will also continue to rise across Germany in 2019. An app that is available for download on the ERDE website provides fast and straightforward information on the corresponding dates and locations of the collection points, which can also be searched directly on the homepage.

Michael Hövel, Sales Manager for Silage at the ERDE member RPC bpi agriculture in Zele/Belgium, which operates its own recycling plant in Great Britain, told us: “There is no alternative to the use of agricultural films when it comes to fodder yield and storage. ERDE ensures that they are sent for mechanical recycling after use and are then returned to the film manufacture in Europe as new raw materials. Thus the farmers who obtain their films from the manufacturers participating in ERDE and then return them to the cycle via ERDE are making a significant contribution to the considerate handling of our resources and to the conservation of our environment”.

The number of film manufacturers participating in ERDE and thus taking responsibility for their products and the environment rose to a total of twelve. Besides RPC BPI GROUP these are currently: Ab Rani Plast Oy, ASPLA - Plásticos Españoles S.A, CLAAS Vertriebsgesellschaft mbH, Coveris Flexibles Austria GmbH, Duo-Plast AG, Groupe Barbier, Manuli Stretch Deutschland GmbH, POLIFILM EXTRUSION GmbH, RKW Agri GmbH & Co KG, Sotrafa S.A. and TRIOPLAST GmbH. Every manufacturer or first distributor of films that supplies the German market can become a member of ERDE.

Further information:

Boris Emmel
ERDE System Supervisor
Tel.: +49 (0) 6 11/ 30 86 00-20