Industry putting weight behind Plasback recycling scheme

NZ’s on-farm plastic recycling initiative, Plasback, is gaining momentum as the agricultural industry moves to reduce its environmental impact

Industry, farming, recycling, Tulloch, farms, plasback

Since the beginning of the year​,​ two​​ Kiwi silage wrap importers Nutritech and Tulloch Farm Machines have joined the Plasback scheme. Fonterra has also launched its Co-operative Difference framework, under which it pays farmers for producing sustainable, high-quality milk.

Joining the Plasback scheme is one step dairy farmers can take to meet the criteria for sustainable production under Fonterra’s new framework.

Plasback manager Chris Hartshorne welcomes these developments and says it indicates the industry is starting to take product stewardship of farm plastics seriously.

“We welcome the support of Tulloch and Nutritech. It’s good to see suppliers take a responsible approach toward the environment and their customers. We encourage all New Zealand silage wrap suppliers to join the scheme.

“Last year, the Ministry for the Environment decided that all farm plastics sold in this country will have to be covered by an accredited product stewardship scheme.

“This means everyone in the farm plastics supply chain – from manufacturers through to consumers – will be responsible for recycling leftover plastic products and packaging.

“How this will be done for the full range of plastics sold to farmers is yet to be worked out, but Plasback already provides an accredited service to collect silage wrap and some chemical drums direct from the farm gate.”

Chris says Plasback is a voluntary, user-pays system. As demand for the service increases, there’s a need to expand its infrastructure to manage increased volumes.


Nutritech national sales manager Shaun Benefield says the company has been in business for 106 years, so it understands the need to be sustainable.

“Plasback is an obvious partner for us as we enter further into the forage consumable market with our Silostop orange oxygen barrier film,” Shaun says. “Silostop is a 45 micron oxygen barrier film that contains one third the amount of plastic than there is in a conventional black and white cover. This means farmers who use Silostop have less plastic that needs to be recycled.”

Shaun says Nutritech’s conversation with Chris was fairly straight forward. Nutritech has decided to invest in Plasback over a three-year period initially.

John Tulloch (left) and Chris Hartshorne shake hands to mark Tulloch Farm Machines joining the Plasback scheme

Tulloch Farm Machines

Tulloch Farm Machines is the New Zealand distributor of Krone balers and other forage harvesting equipment. It also supplies Krone branded silage wrap through its dealer network.

“The government is urging importers to get on board and the easiest way for us to do that is by joining an accredited scheme that is already up and running,” says general manager John Tulloch.

He says supplying Krone-branded silage film is a way that Krone dealers can enhance the service they provide their customers. Krone machines often work better with Krone netwrap and silage film.

Fonterra’s Richard Allen says recycling their silage wrap through Plasback is one step dairy farmers can take to earn the Co-operative Difference payment

Co-operative Difference

Under Fonterra’s new Co-operative Difference initiative, from 1 June, up to 10 cents of a farm’s milk payment will be determined by its sustainability measures and milk quality.

Fonterra Farm Source group director Richard Allen says Fonterra farmers are among the world’s most responsible and that is something to be proud of.

The 10 cents​​ Co-operative Difference payment is made up of seven cents/kg of milk solids for achievement in four sustainability focus areas. Once they have achieved this, farmers can gain another three cents/kg MS for milk that meets Fonterra’s excellence standard. The four sustainability criteria cover the environment, co-op and prosperity, animal well-being, and people and community.

To meet the environment standard, Fonterra suppliers must have a farm environment plan and carry out at least three of four critical environmental practices.

One of these four practises is to participate in a product stewardship scheme for farm plastics and agrichemicals. Plasback and Agrecovery are the two accredited schemes that meet Fonterra’s criteria. ​

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