New Jersey’s Recycling Program Is One To Watch

Serving as a model for a state program, the New Jersey Department of Agriculture is celebrating 15 successful years of nursery and greenhouse plastic recycling. Karen Kritz, recycling program manager, explains how the program has evolved and gives growers tips to start recycling on their own.

In 1996 New Jersey’s Secretary of Agriculture, Arthur Brown, attended the American Society for Plasticulture meeting and met with representatives from AT Plastics, a manufacturer of nursery and greenhouse film to discuss recycling agricultural plastics. After the meeting, the New Jersey Department of Agriculture (NJDA) accepted the role in 1997 as facilitator in the development and implementation of a statewide film-recycling program in an effort to recover and recycle the estimated 1 million pounds used each year by Garden State growers.

NJDA started out with six collection sites where most of the sites only collected nominal tonnage and were not cost effective. In 2003, NJDA decided to downsize to two collection sites and focus where a majority of the film was being generated. From 1997 through 2004, the recycling program was seasonal (February through April) and collected between 350,000 and 500,000 pounds per season. Each year, participation increased up to 5 percent. At the request of the growers, in 2005 NJDA expanded the program to year-round and collected almost 750,000 pounds of film–an increase of 47 percent from the previous years.

Recycling Growers

Ed Overdevest of Overdevest Nurseries has been recycling for 20 years. He started to work outside of NJDA because he has a high volume of plastics to recycle. Although he is working with a different company, Overdevest reports to Kritz every year to record the amount of plastics that have been recycled.

Two collection sites are quasi-government offices that are not in business to make large profits. In order to ensure the program remained viable over the years, NJDA charged a tipping fee of $20 to $25 per ton. When NJDA first developed the program in 1997, it cost $50 per ton to bale the film, and the market rate for used film was almost $100 per ton.
However, at the end of the year the market for used plastic decreased and the price offered for used film plummeted to as low as $20 per ton. Because there was a small tipping fee assessed to the participants in the

“The first thing recommended to people who wish to recycle nursery and greenhouse film is to determine the cost of collecting and baling the film, then establish the market rate for used film and evaluate the landfill tipping fees,” Kritz says. “Keep in mind the market for used film fluctuates just like the price of oil, so you will have good years where you will get good money for the baled film and bad years where you may just break even.”

Greenhouse and nursery film is the most desired material for purchasing, and it must have minimal contaminants to be recycled. Film must be free of lathing, staples, wood, tape, twine and saran, and if sold to a vendor it must be baled. If the film is not thoroughly cleaned, it will not be accepted.

Through trial and error, NJDA has developed guidelines for the bundling and storage of used film. The guidelines are helpful to growers so the film remains as clean as possible. (An example is how to bundle.) Loads containing other agricultural plastics, such as bags, mulch film, shrink film, stretch film, drip irrigation or ground cover film, need to be separated for a different recycling program, or they will be rejected at the collection sites. Then, they would be sent to the landfill, which would result in fees.

Getting Started

NJDA is in partnership with Cumberland County Improvement Authority, offering free recycling of empty plastic pesticide containers on a monthly collection date. The collection program will be held at the Cumberland County Solid Waste Complex in Deer-field Township. The program is free and will save growers a landfill tipping fee of $60 per ton.

The Cumberland County Solid Waste Complex also accepts drip irrigation tape, charging farmers a fee of $30 per ton–nearly 50 percent savings in landfill tipping fees. Before delivery of the agricultural plastics, all growers must call the Cumberland County Improvement Authority to establish an account with the authority. Growers using a licensed solid waste hauler must inform the authority prior to delivery in an effort to maintain proper billing and documentation.

This year, NJDA is working with Cumberland County Improvement Authority, Lowe’s and Home Depot to develop and put into action a nursery pot, cell pack and tray collection program for small quantity generator growers and landscapers. Pots are only accepted empty with no plants. Large generators of these materials can prepare the materials and sell them to plastic recyclers.

Leave a Reply

More From Crop Inputs...
Triathlon BA container shot

May 24, 2016

OHP’s Triathlon Biofungicide Now Listed By The Organic Materials Review Institute

Triathlon BA is a broad-spectrum preventative biofungicide that provides control of many foliar and soilborne diseases in ornamentals and herbs.

Read More
Pythium On Chrysanthemum

May 20, 2016

How To Prevent Pythium In Fall Garden Mums

Avoid profit loss in fall garden mums due to pythium root rot with good drainage and integrated pest management practices that reduce risk factors.

Read More
Agro-K

May 19, 2016

Agro-K Expands Distribution In New England Through Partnership With Northeast Agricultural Sales

Agro-K, which manufactures conventional and organic foliar plant nutrients, will distribute its full line of foliar fertilizers and soil biological products through NEAG.

Read More
Latest Stories
Triathlon BA container shot

May 24, 2016

OHP’s Triathlon Biofungicide Now Listed By The Organic …

Triathlon BA is a broad-spectrum preventative biofungicide that provides control of many foliar and soilborne diseases in ornamentals and herbs.

Read More
Two-spotted spider mites, adults and eggs

May 11, 2016

SePRO Launches Summer Insecticide Management Program Fo…

The program is designed to help growers use SePRO’s insect management tools to prevent plant damage from a variety of pests.

Read More
Small Aphid Colony on Calibrachoa

May 2, 2016

How To Stop Aphids In The Greenhouse

When untreated, aphids damage ornamental crops and act as vectors for disease. Integrated Pest Management combined with vigilant scouting can help you stay ahead of the problem.

Read More
Cicada (Greg Hoover, Penn State)

April 26, 2016

Cicadas Set To Emerge In Several Eastern States This Sp…

While there’s no immediate cause for alarm, experts say the cicada’s egg-laying process can damage woody ornamentals and make them vulnerable to diseases.

Read More
Parisitic Wasp Aphidius colemani

April 25, 2016

Plant Growth Regulator Use Can Affect Biological Pest C…

The use of plant growth regulators may negatively influence the outcome of biological control programs, according to researchers at North Carolina State University.

Read More
Beneficial Insectary Orius insidiosus

April 22, 2016

Beneficial Insectary Increasing Production Of Three Bio…

The company is now producing Orius insidiosus, Dalotia coriaria, and Dicyphus hesperus at its California facility, reducing the transit time of perishable biocontrols between producer and grower.

Read More

April 21, 2016

Michigan State University Offers Tips On Greenhouse Soi…

Improper pH and higher than adequate nutrient levels are among the many reasons for regular soil testing.

Read More
Parasitized aphid mummies, ladybird beetle larvae

April 18, 2016

4 Things You Need To Know About Implementing Biological…

Biocontrols are useful alternatives to traditional pesticides that provide effective pest control in the greenhouse. Here are four ways to get started successfully.

Read More
John Wendorf Bayer Ornamentals

April 14, 2016

Bayer’s New Ornamentals Business Manager Aims To Help G…

John Wendorf, who previously managed BFG Supply’s grower division, says when Bayer launches into the ornamentals market this November, growers will have access to a wealth of resources, including a dedicated team focused on ornamentals growers.

Read More
Emerald Ash Borer

March 22, 2016

Canada Implements New Voluntary Biosecurity Standard Fo…

The voluntary standard is designed to protect the greenhouse, nursery, and floriculture industries from invasive plant pests.

Read More

March 22, 2016

EPA Approves Syngenta’s Mainspring GNL Insecticide For …

Featuring the active ingredient cyantraniliprole, Mainspring GNL provides broad-spectrum control of key pests, such as thrips, whiteflies, aphids, caterpillars, leafminers, and leaf-feeding beetles.

Read More
Black Root Rot on Vinca

March 15, 2016

How To Identify Different Root Rots In The Greenhouse

Root rots can cause similar symptoms on hosts. Here are some tips for scouting in your greenhouse.

Read More
One symptom of Botrytis blight is gray, fuzzy sporulation on foliage and flowers, similar to that shown on the flower of this hibiscus

March 11, 2016

Manage Botrytis With These Cultural And Fungicide Contr…

High relative humidity and low temperatures in the greenhouse open the way for Botrytis to develop on plants. A mix of cultural and fungicide control options will help you manage this common disease effectively.

Read More
Biocontrols and beneficials absolutely can be used in outdoor production, with the use of banker plant systems

March 8, 2016

France-Based InVivo Acquiring Bioline, Syngenta’s Bioco…

Bioline, a subsidiary of Syngenta, specializes in the production and marketing of biological control agents, and in particular macroorganisms active against insect pests in fruits, vegetables, and flowers.

Read More

March 5, 2016

Prevent The Spread Of Disease In Irrigation Water

Water-mold pathogens cause significant crop losses and reduce floriculture crop quality. Take measures in your greenhouse to prevent the spread of diseases like Phytophthora and Pythium.

Read More
Bayer Greenhouse Ribbon Cutting

March 1, 2016

Bayer Opens New Greenhouse Research Facility In West Sa…

The $12 million facility will feature two new high-tech greenhouses that will be used in the development of new solutions in vegetable seeds and biologicals.

Read More

February 20, 2016

Hydrogel Technology Means Growers And Their Customers C…

Water and nutrient management are critical elements for quality plant production in the greenhouse. Maintaining the right amounts of available moisture and fertilizer at all times can be pretty labor intensive, but there are tools available to help you keep these inputs at optimum levels as efficiently as possible. Recently, we visited Evonik Industries’ North Carolina production plant for to see how one of these products — Stockosorb — is made, how it works, and learn the benefits of incorporating these tools in your own operation. Learn more about Evonik Industries’ Stockosorb hydrogel product on the Stockosorb website.  

Read More

February 17, 2016

Why It’s Important To Stay One Step Ahead Of Thri…

Keep thrips populations in check and avoid pesticide resistance by using spray and drench products known for their effectiveness.

Read More
[gravityform id="35" title="false" description="false"]