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Sugar industry recycling program sets big target

Australia’s sugarcane growers are on target to make this season's fertiliser bag recycling drive a 1,000 tonne event.

“Last year a trial recycling scheme for sugarcane fertiliser bags collected an amazing 82,333 bags representing 247 tonnes of packaging,” CANEGROWERS CEO Dan Galligan said. “It exceeded expectations as growers embraced the opportunity to keep this plastic out of landfill sites.

“We welcome the news that Farm Waste Recovery has now made this scheme a permanent fixture in the cane growing industry. It demonstrates the commitment of our growers to the environment and means that this resource will be melted down and re-used.”

The recycling program is backed by Incitec Pivot and Impact Fertilisers. Their retailers and resellers are collection points for fertiliser bags in all Queensland and New South Wales sugarcane regions. Many local government depots are also accepting bags.

October was a big month with 90 tonnes of plastic bags collected.

Farm Waste Recovery CEO Stephen Richards said the 2015 trial proved to plastic processors that there was a valuable resource that they could access for products including bar stools, plastic pipes and outdoor furniture.

“From Mossman to Sarina last year we collected enough plastic to make 1,300 park benches,” he said. “Now we have expanded to all Queensland and New South Wales cane growing regions.

“This year our target is 1,000 tonnes meaning tidier farms and less rubbish in landfill.

“I’m excited by what this can achieve. The trial provided work for seven people so by making this an annual event, we can create permanent jobs in regional areas.”

He said that already the efforts of sugarcane growers had attracted the attention of other industries which were starting to talk about the possibility of running a similar scheme for their waste.

Farm Waste Recovery and CANEGROWERS acknowledge the support of the Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection in the running of the trial and its evaluation.

For more details visit www.farmwasterecovery.com

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