Agricultural Plastics: What are they? Why are they 'hard stuff'? Can the challenges be surmounted?
MetadataShow full item record
Levitan, Lois C.
Presentation slides illustrate the array of agricultural plastic products, the plastic resins they are made from, and qualities and practices that increase suitability for recycling. The reasons that agricultural plastics have been difficult to recycle are outlined, including (1) often contamination with a higher percentage of soil, moisture, etc. than typically permissible for recyclable materials; (2) possibility of contamination with equipment-damaging grit, gravel and rocks; (3) perception or possibility of contamination with pesticide residue; and/or (4) with soil pathogens and weed seeds. Also (5) the expense of collecting bulky material dispersed across the rural landscape, which is greater than collecting waste plastic that is neatly contained within a factory or store; (6) agricultural plastics are often dark colored or a mix of black and white, which process into a muddy gray; and (7) products may be an unidentified mix of different plastic resins and additives. Plastic films are increasingly complex, often made with multiple extrusion layers to meet specific technical criteria. However, new equipment and markets are emerging with capability of processing even the most difficult of agricultural films.
Recycling Agricultural Plastics Project, Cornell University. Presented at the Plastics Recycling Conference 2014, Session 1A The Hard Stuff-Recycling Film, Foam and Other Difficult Plastics, Orlando, FL.
plastic recycing; agricultural plastics; biosecurity
Powerpoint slide presentation.