In recent years, significant quantities of film were shipped to China for recycling, but this outlet recently closed when the Chinese stopped accepting used film. To help fill the gap created, RPC bpi horticulture has teamed up with Haygrove to develop a UK-based recycling scheme. This scheme recognises the fact that growers have a need for a local sustainable solution that will not come with a cost to their bottom line.

China’s decision not to accept waste has created additional demand for domestic recycling services. In recent months, RPC bpi recycling (sister company of RPC bpi horticulture) has seen an increased demand for the reprocessing of all types of polythene including horticulture films.

The recycling scheme aims to ensure that film manufactured in the UK (and sold to UK markets) is also recycled in the UK. For the first three years of the scheme, RPC bpi will collect full loads of all makes of tunnel film for recycling. At the end of this period, it is hoped that the scheme will be recycling only film made in the UK by RPC bpi horticulture. This timescale affords growers the opportunity to recycle any existing films of non-UK origin.

Free recycling

The scheme is simple. When buying film, Haygrove will issue a voucher entitling the purchaser to have film (equivalent to the tonnage purchased) recycled at no cost. The voucher will provide contact details to arrange the collection of full loads of film by RPC bpi recycling. If more convenient, growers can arrange to deliver full loads of film to RPC bpi. RPC bpi recycling will provide an annual certificate confirming the quantity recycled. This will enable growers to demonstrate their recycling credentials and is often a valid contribution to environmental audits.

Modern tunnel film can add significant value to growing operations through delivering enhanced crop quality and yield. So, it is good to know that at the end of its primary lifecycle, tunnel film can continue to add value by being recycled into a host of useful applications including crop grow bags, compost sacks and damp proof membranes.