Featured photo: Cornell University Recycling Agricultural Plastics Program Field Coordinator Nate Leonard holds one of the sidewalk pavers made from recycling used farm plastics from NY farms. RAPP will be sharing details about a new 6 county Western Finger Lakes farm plastics recycling initiative at the 2015 Empire Farm Days. Photo: Brian P. Whattam

Farmers in Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Seneca, Wayne and Yates counties are invited to visit the Cornell University Recycling Agricultural Plastics Program, also known as RAPP, booth at the August 11 to 13 Empire Farm Days at Rodman Lott and Son Farms to learn about a proposed six county farm plastics recycling initiative.

A partnership of Ontario County, Casella Resource Solutions, and Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ontario County is looking to divert farm plastic waste material away from the regional landfill in Ontario County to recycling opportunities.

Recycling plastics can save farm and business owners landfill and dumpster fees of $70 or more per ton and removing farm plastics from the waste stream extends the life of landfill space.

Ontario County is developing a new waste management plan that includes the recycling of agricultural plastics. A survey to gauge the interest of area farmers in recycling their used plastics has had a high rate of response. Farmers are asked to complete a survey expressing their interest and sharing the types and quantities of plastic they use.

Manufacturers in New York State, and elsewhere in the U.S., are turning plastics once used on farms into sheets of plastic plywood, sidewalk pavers, consumer and industrial garbage bags, diesel fuel and new agricultural plastic containers and twine. Virtually all kinds of used plastic, especially bale wrap, bunker covers, and greenhouse film, are now being processed into new products.

Farmers interested to learn best management practices for collecting, handling, storing and compacting farm plastics for recycling can visit with Cornell University Recycling Agricultural Plastics Program educators who will have an ag plastics baler and example of products made from recycled plastics from NY farms on exhibit at Empire Farm Days.