Plasticulture: economy of resources
Plastic in agriculture is essential for farmers, growers and the agriculture production. Plastic allows a better production in quantity and quality, while using less input: water, pesticides, fertilizers. Therefore, agri-plastics has an important contribution for an intensive ecological agriculture (agro-ecology). Then plastic reduces the environmental impact of agricultural production. Every year, the world uses 6.1 MT of agri-plastics: greenhouses, small tunnels, mulching, silage, stretch films, irrigations pipes, nets and many more. Without plastics, 60% of the vegetable and animal production will be jeopardized. After use, if collected, agri-plastics are recycled and contribute then to the circular economy. By 2030, the world will consume 9.5 MT of plastic to face the growing demand of the increasing population. Due to the contamination (sand, earth, water, organic matters) the used agri-plastic will represent the equivalent of 17.5 MT of waste to be managed. Too often, all over the world, agri-plastics are not properly managed: plastics left in the field, accumulation in the soil, wild storage, with dramatic damage for the environment and jeopardizing the production itself. The plasticulture community (users, industry, distributors, scientific community) must be concerned about the end-of life of agri-plastic and therefore take individual and collective initiatives to ease sustainable solutions for users and the environment. Part of this solutions concerns the eco-conception of the agri-plastics products but also the way they are used. Good management of the plastic during the farming process eases the collection and recycling of the used products and can many times be combined with an increase of work efficiency.
Le Moine, B. and Ferry, X. (2019). Plasticulture: economy of resources. Acta Hortic. 1252, 121-130
plasticulture, end-of-life management, environmental responsibility, human feeding, market prospective