Breathing new life into old agricultural film


Rani Plast and eight other forward-thinking companies are collaborating on a new nationwide recycling collection system. The difficulties in disposing of used agricultural plastic may soon be a thing of the past.

There have been numerous developments in recycling recently. A new system for recycling agricultural film is the latest advancement. The aim is to create a nationwide system to collect, sanitise, and re-granulate agricultural film, and then to turn it into new products.

The collection of used agricultural film is not regulated, but that doesn’t mean it’s not part of the industry’s commitment to sustainability. “We want to do more than just comply with legislation; we want to be ahead of the game. Our efforts to create a voluntary system for the recycling of agricultural film is a good example,” says Mats Albäck, Sustainability and Development Director at Rani Plast.

Collection is scheduled to commence in 2024.

The goal is a cost-effective system

A new organisation called Maatalousmuovien Kierrätys Oy has been set up. The nine companies within it cover the industry’s entire spectrum, from producers and importers to retailers. The organisation is now planning the recycling system. Mats is a board member, and is working with his colleagues on the details, big and small.

What types of products will be processed? How will collection and sorting work in practice? How will the system be funded? There are many such questions requiring comprehensive and practical answers.

The challenge lies in creating a system that is cost-effective for producers and end users. Collection is scheduled to commence in 2024.

“One model we are exploring uses pop-up collection points, where agricultural producers can drop off their plastic,” says Mats. “Another option is to develop an infrastructure to collect the material from the farms.”

Sales manager Christer Vidjeskog sees only advantages in the new system.

“It brings us a step closer to our sustainability goals. RaniWrap EcoL, our bale wrap, contains 30 percent recycled raw material, and demand for this type of product is increasing. RaniWrap is made from high-quality raw materials, so it can be recycled time and again without compromising its key properties. It closes a loop for our agricultural products.”

A collection system helps in meeting sustainability targets

The collection of agricultural film is not yet regulated in Finland, as mentioned above, and only one-fifth of all agricultural film is currently being recycled. The difficulties in recycling lie in solving logistical problems, and in the fact that used agricultural film is often wet and dirty.

The initiative is about taking responsibility for our products, helping farmers dispose of their waste, and meeting our sustainability targets.

Mats Albäck

However, the recycling of such film is already commonplace elsewhere in Europe. For example, there are collection systems in Sweden, Norway, Germany, Switzerland, Ireland, and France. Finland is now the newest country on the list.

“I am excited to be working on the creation of a system to re-use agricultural film. This valuable material has,always ended up as waste —until now. The new initiative is not only about meeting our sustainability targets. It’s also about taking responsibility for our products and helping farmers dispose of their waste,” says Mats Albäck.

Maatalousmuovien Kierrätys Oy

What: a voluntary organisation of producers and others; a subsidiary of Suomen Uusiomuovi Oy.

Why: to develop a collection and recycling system for agricultural plastics that don’t fall under the producer’s packaging responsibility. The system will process bale wrap and silage film at first. The plan is to add the collection and recycling of netting and plastic from commercial gardens in the future.

How: through a specially developed infrastructure, including shared transport and pop-up collection points.

When: the organisation is now planning the system. Collection is scheduled to commence in 2024.

Who: The organisation has nine member companies: Ab Rani Plast Oy, Lantmännen Agro Oy, Hankkija Oy, Finnlacto Oy, Piippo Oyj, Trioworld Oy, Tama Scandinavia Ab, Teollisuushankinta TH Oy, and Agro-Tuonti Oy. It expects more companies to join in the future.