News

Arrangements in Orkney when On-Farm Burning of Plastics Ends

on farm burning 1The burning of plastic waste on farms will no longer be allowed under exemption from the beginning of next year. The new regulations come into force from 1st of January 2019. It affects the burning of silage wrap, crop covers, fertiliser bags and containers.

What will happen in Orkney?

A spokesperson for Orkney Islands Council said:

“From 1 January 2019 SEPA will strictly enforce the requirements of the waste regulations aimed at addressing the environmental impact of farm waste disposal.

“The regulations ban the practice of burning most types of agricultural waste on farms, including farm plastics.

“We’re aware that in the past there was a collective approach by local farmers to stockpile wrap and send south for recycling.

“Plastic bale wrap is classed as commercial waste, and therefore must be disposed of at an authorised facility (ie, a waste or recycling facility) at the business owner’s cost.

“Disposing of plastic bale wrap through a Council waste facility is but one route for business owners.”

The options available in Orkney are:

  1. a ‘kerbside collection’ service with the Council – prices are on the Council website (p 26 onwards) and vary by size of bin and frequency of collection, and ad hoc collections are also available. –
  2. for farmers to dispose of it through the Council’s Chinglebraes facility. The charge for disposal of commercial waste at Chinglebraes is £160 per tonne, payable within 30 days of invoices (either using an approved waste transport service, or registering with the Council and SEPA as an approved waste transporter)

OIC Information on Waste and Recycling

Plastic bale wrap collected by the Council or deposited at Chinglebraes facility is shipped to Shetland for incineration or landfill.

Information link – Burning on-farm waste 

What can still be burned on-farm?

From 1 January 2019, there are some farm wastes that can continue to be burned. These wastes can only be burned after 1 January 2019 if the activity does not cause pollution of the environment or harm to human health.

Biomass such as:

  • Vegetable waste from agriculture and forestry
  • Vegetable waste from the food processing industry, if the heat generated is recovered
  • Fibrous vegetable waste from pulp-making, if the heat generated is recovered 
  • Uncontaminated wood waste (but not paper or card)

Only burned under very specific conditions contained in exemption 29 are uncontaminated cork waste and animal carcasses.

Martin Kennedy Vice President of NFU Scotland said:

“Recognising that the spotlight is focussed on plastics, it is incumbent on all stakeholders that we help farmers and crofters do the right thing when dealing with the forthcoming ban on burning farm plastics.

“There is a short window for change but we have been working closely with SEPA and Zero Waste Scotland on clear messages and practical measures that farmers can follow.  That involves meaningful, simple guidance on what can and can’t be done; what is and what isn’t recyclable, and what the options are for farm plastics deemed non-recyclable.  We also want to ensure the collection centre network is as comprehensive as possible so those in more remote areas have realistic options to have this material disposed of properly in the future.

“Where there are gaps in information, guidance or disposal options, we will work quickly with others to fill them with solution.”

Information leaflet to download 

on farm burning 1on farm burning 2Reporter: Fiona Grahame


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