What happens to the foils once ERDE has collected them?
Fricke: ERDE ensures that 100 percent of the collected foils and stretch films end up in mechanical recycling in facilities across Germany and throughout Europe. We do not use facilities outside of Europe. Some crop plastics such as round bale hay nets require different recycling options, which are being developed as we speak. Our partner, RIGK GmbH, is actively building recycling capacities for these products throughout Europe. We expect the first recycled volumes of round bale hay nets this year.
All documentation pertaining to recycling is audited by an external specialist. Our members highly value transparency.
Who and how can one join the project?
Fricke: All manufacturers of crop plastics that supply the German market can become members. We also offer memberships to distributors and importers. The agricultural trade can join in as part of "100% ERDE" by using and bringing only ERDE licensed goods to market.
Farmers participate by pre-cleaning the crop plastics, tapping into our network of collection points and by expressly using ERDE recovered crop plastics.
You endeavored to collect and recycle 65 percent of all silage and stretch films put on the market by 2022. How close are you to reaching this goal?
Fricke: We are very close but 2022 also notably challenged us. Last year we collected and recycled around 30,200 tons of silage and stretch film, which equates to about 56 percent of the total market volume in Germany. However, this year, the Basel Convention Correspondents' Guideline No. 12 will be adopted and is expected to have an unforeseeable impact on our established recycling routes. With immediate effect, plastic waste with a degree of contamination of more than 6 percent – meaning most used crop plastics - can now only be moved and disposed of in an environmentally responsible manner with the permission of the exporting and importing countries' agencies. It is still unclear how long this approval process will take.