Project RAFU: Agricultural Plastic Recycling


Man In FieldThe French Agricultural Plastics Committee (CPA) and ADIVALOR have launched project RAFU (recycling of used agriculture films). When in 2011, ADIVALOR was due to collect about 35,000 tonnes of used farm film, the French Agricultural Plastics Committee (CPA) become involved in the RAFU project, along with SITA, to Invénio, Jaulent and Coved. RAFU is a research project coordinated by ADIVALOR that will last four years and for the first time brings together all stakeholders involved in agricultural recovery and recycling. It aims to improve conditions for the collection and recovery of used farm film, significantly reducing the rate of contamination by using cleaning techniques closer to the place of use.

Eliminating additional transport and cleaning costs

Cpolyolefins_agriculturaontamination of used farm film is a real obstacle to efficient and sustainable recycling. In mulching and semi-forcing, for example, contamination can represent up to 70% of the volume collected and leads to significant additional costs in terms of recovery operations and treatment. Contamination hampers the valorisation of used farm film and makes recycling less attractive, and thereby promotes prohibited practices (burning, landfill, etc.).

A budget of €1.334 million

RAFU has been selected by PEIFL (European Centre for Fruits and Vegetables) as part of (AAP) ECO-INDUSTRY project that mobilizes the scientific and technical capabilities of CTIFL, Cemagref and the Ecole des Mines d’Alès. It has a budget of € 1.334 million, 45% of which will be financed by ADÈME, and will simultaneously work on tools and techniques for removing used farm film (Invénio) and pre-treatment processes and transport of recyclable materials (Coved). In its plants, SITA will measure the impact of recycling of used agriculture films on recycling productivity the quality of the regenerated granules. The first integration tests are planned for 2013.

In 2011 alone, this programme led to an 11% increase in recycled agricultural film compared to 2010. France is one of the best performers in the world with regards to recycling agricultural film. Nearly 81% of agricultural film is recycled in France (14% in Europe). Agricultural film can be a significant source of plastic waste to the environment if it is not collected correctly, and even becomes a source of marine litter in agricultural fields close to the coastline or rivers.