By Carol McIntire
July 31, 2012
|RECYCLING FEED BAGS. Laura Aguredakes, an employee at Straight A’s, drops colored plastic feed bags into a supersack located in the drive-thru at the business. The facility accepts both filled supersacks containing separated white and colored ag plastics or colored feed bags that can easily be dropped off at the drive-thru.
Farmers have a new avenue to recycle used plastic products.
Thanks to the efforts of the Carroll County Farm Bureau and a solid waste district, a new agriculture plastics recycling program is being initiated in Carroll, Columbiana, Harrison, Jefferson and Harrison counties.
Bill Findley and Ken Grigsby are heading up the project for the Carroll County Farm Bureau.
“Previously there was no outlet for farmers to recycle plastic products. They were either going into a landfill or farmers were burning them and ending up with a glob of plastic,” Findley said referring to the plastic used as bale wraps, silage bunker covers, feed and fertilizer bags. “Farm Bureau took on the project and, by working with the Carroll-Columbiana-Harrison Solid Waste District, we found a company that takes used plastics and turns them into new sidewalks.”
The company is located in California, but operates a facility in Indiana for white plastics, which makes transportation from the area to the facility affordable. They recycle the white plastic and turn it into 24-by-36-inch interlocking squares that are used as modular sidewalks. The company is absorbing the cost transporting the filled sacks to the facility.
The pair said white plastics is defined as white bale wrap, silage bags, silo and bunker covers and fertilizer bags.
The Farm Bureau is taking the program a step further and offering recycling of colored plastics; however the two products cannot be co-mingled; they must be kept separate. The colored plastics will be shipped to another facility the same company owns in Alabama. The facility also makes sidewalk material and other outdoor decorative paving stones that are gray in color.
Colored plastics include colored bunker covers, net wrap, plastic baler twine and plastic feed sacks (50 pound sacks).
In an effort to get the program up and running, the Farm Bureau is distributing supersacks to farmers. Farmers are asked to fill the sack or sacks (keeping the white and colored plastics separate). The sacks can hold up to 1,000 lbs. Once filled, the farmer simply drops off the sacks at a drop-off location in the county.
At the present time, Straight A’s, located just off SR 183 on the west edge of Minerva, is the only drop off location. The business accepts both the white and colored plastics. For the convenience of customers, Straight A’s can accept the filled sacks or residents can take feed bags to the business and drop them off in a supersack located in the drive-thru. Farmers can pick up a supersack at Straight A’s for either colored or white plastic or call Findley at 330-866-3018 or Grigsby at 330-735-2743 or their county Farm Bureau office to make arrangements.
Findley and Grigsby said they plan to announce the location of another drop-off facility soon.
“As you can image, once a farmer packs a lot of plastic into the supersacks, they become heavy so it is necessary to have the drop off location where the business has the means to unload the sacks from vehicles and trailers,” Grigsby noted.
At the present time, the goal is to educate the public about the program and hopefully spark interest.
“This has never been done in this part of Ohio and we are hoping to make it a success,” Findley noted. “We are hoping to reduce or eliminate costs the farmer may be paying to dispose of these items through a landfill and help the environment at the same time.”
“This may be the breakthrough we have been looking for,” Findley added. “At this point we aren’t certain what percentage of the plastics we can retrieve, but it is start.”
Farmers interested in participating in the program can pick up a supersack at Straight A’s or contact Findley at 330-866-3018 or Grigsby at 330-735-2743 for additional information. Farmers in adjacent counties should call their local Farm Bureau office or the following coordinators: Carroll and Tuscarawas counties, Carol Hoffman at 1-800-265-2090; Columbiana County, Fred Hipley at 330-222-1328; Jefferson County, Janene Smith at 740-266-6603 or Harrison County, Peggy Horn at 740-945-0386.