Chris Brown photo

Chris Brown, an employee of ABC Farms Inc. explained how the large bale wrap and silage covers are prepared for recycling during the Jan. 4 press conference held at ABC Farms in Canastota.

(Canastota, NY – Jan. 8, 2013) ABC Farm of Canastota hosted the official launch of the Madison County Ag Plastics Recycling Program on Friday Jan. 4. The program provides a way for farmers to recycle agricultural plastics such as large bale wrap and silage covers.

Agricultural plastics can be dropped off at the transfer stations in Cazenovia, Sullivan, Hamilton and the main landfill in the town of Lincoln.

The launch was held at ABC farm to show an example of one of the main point sources for agricultural plastics in Madison County – the working farm.   From there participants traveled to the main landfill to view the baling and shipping process now in use.

Previously, farmers were either dumping or burning the waste plastic.

“We use 2000 pounds of plastic per year that we’ve been taking it to the landfill,” said Rick Carrier, owner of ABC Farm.

James Zecca, Director of the Department of Solid Waste & Sanitation, explained the importance of the program.

“Ag plastic is some of the most difficult material to recycle,” said Zecca. “We have been working with JBI, Inc. of Niagara Falls who has a proprietary process that turns waste plastic into clean diesel fuel.”

Currently, waste Ag plastic is shipped to Niagara Falls where it is processed into diesel fuel.  JBI Inc. has discovered a way to “crack the code” – turn plastic back into diesel fuel.  Their plant in Niagara Falls is an innovative North American fuel company that transforms unsorted, unwashed waste plastic into ultra-clean, ultra-low sulphur fuel without the need for refinement.

JBI Inc.’s patent pending Plastic2Oil (P2O) process is a commercially viable, proprietary process designed to provide immediate economic benefit for industry, communities and government organizations with waste plastic recycling challenges.

Diversion of items that don’t biodegrade and take up space in the landfill is a concept that has long been a priority for the Madison County Department of Solid Waste under Director Zecca’s leadership.

Madison County leadership would like to convince JBI, Inc. to set up a site at the Agriculture Renewal Energy – ARE park sited at the Madison County landfill. Ultimately, Madison County could become the Ag Plastics collection point for the entire CNY region.

“This launch represents the first step in a long term plan that will not only turn plastic into clean diesel, but could also provide job creation through economic development,” said Kipp Hicks, Director of Madison County’s Industrial Development Agency.

Representatives from agencies concerned with agriculture and the environment weighed in about the importance of the program. Karen Baase, Ag Educator from Cornell Cooperative Extension of Madison County estimated that the Central New York region would have approximately 630 tons of Ag plastic to recycle annually, with 80 tons in Madison County alone.

“That estimate is only for working farms,” said Baase. “Adding horticultural waste plastic could feasibly double that estimate.”

Lois Leviton, Program Leader of Cornell University’s Recycling Agricultural Plastics Projects shared about another use of Ag plastics involving a company in Auburn making plastic ply-board. This could add another potential market to recycle Ag plastic waste materials.

“Diversification of markets is key for a truly successful initiative,” noted Zecca. “You don’t want to have all your eggs in one basket. If one market dries up, you want to have a back-up.”

Madison County has been collecting Ag Plastics since Dec. 6, 2012 with great success.  Now with the project officially launched, the Department of Solid Waste wants to encourage all farmers, gardeners and other generators of Ag plastic materials to drop them off at transfer stations in Cazenovia, Sullivan, Hamilton and the main landfill site in the town of Lincoln.

By martha

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