05. February 2019
Obergünzburg in the Ostallgäu region is one of more than 400 collection points across Germany of the ERDE initiative that gives farmers the chance to dispose of their used agricultural films in an environmentally-friendly way twice a year, so that they can be processed into new raw materials. More than 100 committed farmers from the area take part. Peter Maurus is one of them.
It is Tuesday morning – a day that has been in Peter Maurus’ diary for a long time. The 36-year-old farmer climbs into his front loader and drives to the Maschinenring Ostallgäu collection point, just a few kilometres away. Just like he does every autumn. His trailer is full of used agricultural films that he wants to put back into the material cycle. Sustainability and saving resources are very important to the father of two kids. “Of course I want to pass on healthy soil to my sons in 20 years’ time. Films are increasingly important in modern agriculture, and recycling them correctly is an integral part of their use,” explains Peter Maurus. “Any responsible farmer thinks in healthy cycles – and the same goes for waste recycling. Our farm alone generates more than 250 kilograms of used films every year. The ERDE recycling system is a huge help to us farmers here.”
Working together for the future
Founded and supported by environmentally-aware film producers, the voluntary “Erntekunststoffe Recycling Deutschland” (ERDE - Crop Plastics Recycling Germany) initiative brings together industry and agriculture to work for a sustainable material cycle. Its goal is to turn waste into raw materials using a simple and cost-effective system. “My films are stacked on my farm and sorted into silo and stretch varieties. Every six months, I pick them all up on my front loader and drive to the nearby collection point, where I pay for the acceptance by the kilo. That’s it – it couldn’t be simpler. It feels good to know that I am also making a valuable contribution to the environment,” says Peter Maurus, happily. The films are then pressed into bales at disposal plants before recycling companies process them into granulate that can be made into new products in a resource-saving way. Eleven film producers are already actively involved in the initiative. They have decided to take responsibility themselves, rather than passing it on to the customers who buy their products. “Sustainability can only work if everyone works together and puts the same effort in – from industry to policy makers to agriculture. If only one party is active, resignation starts to arise sooner or later – we cannot afford to do that to future generations. That is why everyone involved needs to play their part,” emphasised Peter Maurus. This Tuesday morning, he has contributed more than 125 kilograms of used agricultural film to the material cycle. The collection date in spring is already in his diary.