Reduce Reuse Recycle for Farmers

Farmers have always reused & recycled and are ingenious at giving new life to old materials – many farmers already reuse empty containers, repair machinery and replace goods by recycling or adapting waste materials, but there is plenty more that can be done to improve waste management on the farm and protect our environment.

Tips for Waste Management on the Farm
Hazardous Waste on the Farm

Why Waste Prevention?

  • Reduces the quantity of raw materials you buy.
    Reducing the amount of waste means making better, more efficient use of the raw materials you have bought. If these are expensive, you will soon begin to save a lot of money.
  • Saves time and money involved in managing and handling waste.
    By creating less waste, your farm will be tidier and the time saved can be spent on more worthwhile tasks.
  • Reduces your ‘disposal’ costs.
    You may already be paying directly to have someone take waste away. It is likely that more waste will have to be taken off-farm in the future. Reducing such waste will help you to contain these costs.
  • Increases the value of crops, animals or produce for sale.
    A production system that creates waste can often result in lower quality products. For example, poor control of grain drying will result in spoilt grain and lower prices.
  • Reduces harmful effects on the environment.
    Minimising the quantity of waste reduces the risk of causing water, air or soil pollution.
  • Helps you to comply with waste legislation.
    Activities that may have been accepted practice in the past such as burning or burying waste is no longer tolerated by environmental enforcement agencies.

Waste Prevention Tips

1. When buying bag fertilizer only buy what you need. A soil analysis test will tell you if you need fertilizer for that year saving you hundreds of euro. If you do purchase fertilizer try and buy in bulk bags or get it bulk spread as you will have little or no waste afterwards to dispose of.

2. Request a farm plastics collection through the Irish Farm Films Producer Group (IFFPG) for silage and bale wrap. Collection is free but you must register first with the IFFPG, call 1800300444.You should keep all the receipts for the purchase of the farm plastic as this will mean significant savings when it comes to paying for the collection service.

3. When purchasing feed try and buy it in paper bags instead of plastic bags as the paper is easier to recycle.

4. Ask your local vet to take away any needles, syringes or bottles used by him on the farm. Any veterinary waste created by the vet on your farm is his/her responsibility.

5. Be careful with the storage of old paints and chemicals and do not dispose of them improperly. If storing chemicals you should store inside a bund and away from drains. Chemicals should be disposed of through a hazardous waste contractor.

6. Buy mineral licks in block format rather than in the buckets, this means that you do not have to dispose of the bucket

7. Scrap metal is valuable and you should contact your local authority for the names of authorised collectors who will collect scrap metal from around the farm.

8. The recommended amount of bales per hectare is 8- get value out of your plastic wrap.

9. Keep bale netting and twine separate from the bale plastic as these must be collected separately to the bale plastic.

10. Good housekeeping practices will make materials last longer and reduce costs.