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Western Maine Ag Plastics Recycling Workshop
April 14, 2009 @ 9:30 am - 3:00 pm
Disposable plastics are now integral to most farm operations in all sectors of agriculture. Plastics are replacing glass, metal, concrete, and ceramic because they cost less, increase production efficiency, and are safer. Disposal, however, is an unsolved problem. Some waste plastics are burned in open fires on-farm, plowed into fields, or pushed out of the way in piles. When burned, they can release dioxins and other pollutants, which then can enter the food system at the base of the food chain. When left in the field, plastics pose risks to livestock, create mosquito breeding habitat, and are an ugly detriment to agri-tourism. Recycling is rare, but new opportunities are emerging.
Funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, NEWMOA conducted training and provided technical assistance to promote proper management and recycling of agricultural plastics in rural areas of northern New England and New York. NEWMOA contracted with Dr. Lois Levitan, Program Leader of the Cornell Recycling Agriculture Plastics Project, for technical expertise on all aspects of the project. NEWMOA conducted a workshop for western Maine participants on Tuesday, April 14, 2009 at the Granary Restaurant in Farmington, ME. The workshop included talks on the status of agricultural film plastics management and recycling; guidelines for handling of plastics to prepare for proper management and recycling; infrastructure and equipment needs; and markets.