The use of plastic in all aspects of food crop production has increased dramatically in the last decade. There is even a word for it – PLASTICULTURE. Using plastic makes sense because it is versatile and generally economical. Food systems around the world are rapidly changing though and innovation is disrupting traditional methods of farming, particularly those that consumers regard as harmful.
New Zealand growers are early adopters of science and technology to match customer demands such as reducing plastic waste. We have seen considerable investment by local growers in all aspects of production to drive efficiency and improve quality while being mindful of the impact on the environment. Consumers both in New Zealand and internationally are increasingly demanding food from more sustainable sources and local growers have been busy working on improving sustainability and improving environmental outcomes. All food production sectors have a responsibility to implement sustainable management into their farming systems as part of their ‘social license to operate’.
The concept and principles of a Circular Economy is no longer just something we talk about. We need to innovate to ensure that all plastic is designed to be reused, recycled or composted. Currently 252k tonnes of plastic waste goes into landfill in New Zealand every year. If we did nothing, it is estimated that by 2030 we may have as much as 111million tonnes of plastic waste going to landfill. We simply cannot allow that to happen!
The good news is that some of that waste can be diverted without impacting productivity for the current users because products like Earthtwine™ make that possible.