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From Hay Bales to Bin Liners, Recycling Ag Plastic Saves Dough

Farms in Minnesota and Wisconsin finally have a good solution to getting rid of the millions of pounds of plastic they generate each year. By nabbing a dumpster from Revolution Plastics, farmers in those states no longer have to choose between the lesser of three evils – paying to take it to a landfill, burying it on their own land, or burning it illegally – to dispose of their agricultural plastics.

A full launch of the Revolution Plastics program took place in Minnesota and Wisconsin last year, and farmers are seeing results, according to the Minnesota Star Tribune. One farmer says he was spending $1,700 a year to haul as much as 4,000 pounds of plastic to the landfill; now it is picked up every two months for free. Here’s how it works: farms that generate at least 2,000 pounds of plastic a year sign up for the program and receive dumpsters to keep onsite, determined by the size of their farms and the amount of plastics used. Revolution Plastics picks up the plastic waste as often as twice a month or as seldom as two or three times a year. The plastic is recycled and turned into garbage bin liners and other products.

Silo bags, bunkers, and wrapped bales are increasingly used to better manage and store feeds on a farm. The plastics used in these materials is key for preserving the feed, but a 300-cow dairy farm can produce as much as 6,000 pounds of waste plastic a year, according to USA Today. Estimates say that more than 55 million pounds of plastic in the form of these materials are sold to Wisconsin farmers each year.

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