Plastic products are used extensively in agricultural applications.

Traditionally, farmers had few options for the disposal of on-farm plastic wastes, due to the contaminated nature of the plastics, low volumes and distance to markets. Plastics may have been left in the fields, buried on site, or burnt (which is now illegal). These methods contaminate our air, water, soil and stock. Plastics left in fields may be consumed by animals; and when burnt, can generate the highly toxic, bio-accumulative poisons dioxin and furans. Chemicals from buried plastics may leach into waterways.


Recycling farm plastics

New Zealand has several companies that accept a variety of farm plastic wastes, which are able to be processed into new products.


  • Silage wrap
  • Silage pit covers
  • LDPE feed bags
  • Shrinkwrap
  • Pallet covers
  • Polypropylene feed, seed and fertiliser bags
  • HDPE drums.


The following can be recycled by Agrecovery:

  • Chemicals
  • Containers
  • Plastic Wrap
  • Crop protection net


Handling agricultural waste plastics

  • Store silage bales on concrete if possible
  • Remove wrap before moving bales to feeding areas
  • Fully empty all bags – brush or shake if necessary
  • If possible, remove crop covers in optimum dry conditions to avoid contamination
  • Separate and store plastic wastes as they arise, not after they have blown around the fields.
  • Empty, triple rinse and drain agrichemical containers – dispose of contaminated water safely.
  • Separate plastics according to type: wrap and film; fertiliser bags; crop nets etc
  • Store waste plastics at one site to ease collection


Rural Waste Minimisation Project

In April 2019 the government announced a nationwide Rural Waste Minimisation Project. The project included pop up events around the country which acted as drop off points and education stalls for rural recycling and waste minimisation. Although the pop-up events were discontinued in 2021, the rural recycling programme run by Agrecovery will continue to support the rural community with management, disposal and recycling of farm plastics.