Mulch Films and Drip Tape: Efficient End-of-Season Management
Recycling markets for ag mulch films and drip tape have been significantly curtailed with the closure of overseas Chinese markets in 2018.
The NC Agricultural Plastics Recycling Team has been working hard to find solutions for the mulch films. The team has focused on evaluating and demonstrating more efficient techniques to lift and wind mulch films with less dirt and vegetation attached. These new techniques and best management practice can save growers $125 acre. In partnership with NC Cooperative Extension and support from the North Carolina Tobacco Trust Fund Commission, novel retrieval equipment is available for loan through the NC Cooperative Extension sites in east and west of the state.
WRP and DEACS are also working with North Carolina plastic processor recyclers to help them develop and invest in better wash systems for handling the dirtier plastics. We are optimistic that as the economics change more domestic recycling processing capacity will become available to NC growers for film, tapes and all ag plastics.
Mulch film management resources:
Mulch Film Retrieval Demonstration Video
BMP for End-of-Season Mulch Films
Field Trials: Article on the status and economics of film recycling