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Ag plastic recycling offered in county
Two bales of used ag plastics weighing about one ton each. (Photo supplied)
MONROE - Farmers from Green County and the surrounding area will again have an opportunity to dispose of used agricultural plastics from wrapped bales, silo bags, bunker silos and greenhouse covers this fall. The Green County Landfill will be accepting agriculture plastics from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily from Nov. 9-20. All area farmers can dispose of the agriculture plastics listed above free of charge at the landfill at W2002 County SS, Brodhead.

Green County has conducted three successful ag plastic collection programs over the past two years, gathering and recycling more than 145,000 pounds of used ag plastic from area farmers. The county turns the used ag plastic into one ton bales which are sent to Revolution Plastic's processing facility in Arkansas. The used ag plastic is cleaned, processed and recycled into EPA certified trash can liners and other plastic products.

The use of silo bags, bunkers and baleage has increased dramatically over the past 10 years as a means of feed storage on Wisconsin dairy and livestock farms. More than 55 million pounds of plastic bags and wraps are sold to farmers in Wisconsin each year. Many dairy farms using silo bags, bunkers and wrapped bales use an average of between 10 and 15 pounds of polyethylene plastic per cow annually. This equates to about 150 tons of plastic silo bags, bale wrap and bunker covers that have to be disposed of just in Green County each year.

Most used ag plastic is currently being disposed of in landfills or is being burned illegally. Burning the plastic is also not good for the environment. This ag plastic collection program provides area farmers with a free method for disposing of their plastic while also helping to eliminate the issue of used plastic blowing around the country side.

Only #4 plastic from silo bags, bunker covers, green house covers, drip tape and bale wraps will be accepted through this collection. Plastic twine, mesh bale wraps, plastic jugs, bunker covers with scrim nylon and all other types of plastic containers will not be accepted. Farmers are asked to shake any excess mud, gravel, dirt, stones and feed off the plastic before storing it, or bringing it to the collection in November.

UW Extension in Green County is working on a pilot program with Revolution Plastics which includes dumpsters being placed on farms specifically for storing these types of plastic along with free on-farm pick-up offered every four to six weeks. They hope to have dumpsters for ag plastic placed on more than 80 farms through the pilot program by the end of the year. If the pilot is successful the goal will be to expand the service to a larger geographical area in 2016.

"This project can be a win-win for everyone involved. We're able to help farmers with their ag plastic disposal problems, reduce the amount of plastic going to landfills and being burned, and generate revenue for the county while at the same time recycling the unwanted material into a new products," stated Mark Mayer, UW Extension agriculture agent for Green County.

Green County plans to hold used ag plastic collections in the county again in April and November 2016. For more information about the Green County ag plastic collection program, contact Mayer at 328-9440 or