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Sustainable packaging solutions

Farmers around the world are getting better at safely disposing of waste, including empty crop protection chemical containers. Even so, there remains a need for global training initiatives to improve general practice.

An industry survey across 16 countries revealed 65% of farmers do wash out empty containers, but only 20% are using the recommended triple rinse system and draining the washings into the spray tank to minimize the risk of environmental pollution during container disposal.

The survey, of over 4,000 farmers, also found over 85% made positive efforts to dispose of containers. Training programmes around the world are making a significant contribution to reducing the number of containers discarded in the field. Including waste disposal in training programmes in Brazil has resulted in more than 60% of packaging now being disposed of through approved routes.

Initiatives to reduce, re-use and recycle in order to minimize waste include:

  • Packing products in returnable and refillable containers
  • Bulk packs for safe and cost effective local distribution to growers in small quantities, using purpose made take home pots. Bulk packs are returned for refilling or recycling.
  • Chemical formulations designed to reduce the volume of packaging required.
  • Innovative packaging materials, such as water soluble sachets which dissolve in the spray tank. They minimize chemical handling and avoid waste disposal.
  • Optimised pack sizes which minimize the amount of waste.

Industry led recycling schemes in Spain and Portugal to co-ordinate central collection points for recyclable plastics help growers achieve EurepGAP protocols. In the UK, a voucher scheme helps fund the cost of plastic container recycling for growers striving to meet new waste legislation.