ERDE Voluntary Commitment:
ERDE (Erntekunststoffe Recycling Deutschland – crop plastics recycling in Germany) is undertaking to collect and recycle 65 per cent of all silage and stretch films marketed in Germany by 2022.
ERDE operates under the umbrella of the IK Industrievereinigung Kunststoffverpackungen e.V. (German Association for Plastic Packaging and Films) and in collaboration with RIGK GmbH as system operator to organise the separate collection and recovery of agricultural films via collection partners. Agricultural contractors and farmers collect crop plastics and hand them in – brushed off and free from major soiling – to a collection point. Recycling companies then process the collected materials into plastic recyclates for new plastic products.
The declared aim of the voluntary commitment is the inclusion of additional crop plastics in the collection and recovery system. While silage and stretch films account for the majority of applications – two-thirds in all – asparagus films, round bale netting and mulch films will also be integrated into the circular system in future. ERDE is thus seeking to establish a holistic recycling solution for all crop plastics.
The progress of the ERDE initiative is reviewed by an external body on an annual basis. New milestones will be established in cooperation with the Federal Environment Ministry in 2023.
So far, ERDE has collected and recycled 25 per cent of silage and stretch films. Around 70 per cent of the agricultural films that are collected are recycled in Germany, with the remaining 30 per cent being recycled in other EU countries. The used films are turned into valuable raw materials for e.g. new agricultural and construction films, irrigation hoses and refuse sacks.