Recycling fertiliser packaging

Plastic pollution has become an escalating environmental problem. Furthermore, plastic not only pollutes the environment but also amplifies climate change with a large contribution to greenhouse gas emissions at every stage of its lifecycle, from its production to the way its waste is managed.

At Yara, we're committed to continually reducing our environmental footprint. This is being tackled in three ways: firstly by introducing sustainable packaging which contains recycled plastic, secondly by reducing the amount of fertiliser packaging used and finally by increasing the proportion that can be recycled.

Sustainable fertiliser bags

Starting in 2022 Yara is introducing new fertiliser 'big-bags' that contain 30% recycled (PCR - Post-Consumer Recycled) plastic. It is estimated that the use of these will replace at least 430 tonnes of virgin plastic each year.

These new ‘big bags’ have the same technical properties and strength and meet the same standards and certifications as those made with 100% virgin plastic. They have a very slight colour difference when compared to current bags. A new print design on sustainable bags identifies their recycled nature.

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Recycled packaging versus the former 100% virgin plastic bag - You can see slightly different tones of the bags


Recycling fertiliser bags

Yara encourages all farmers that purchase our products to dispose of the plastic packaging that results safely and sustainably. The plastic that is used in our packaging can all be recycled via a number of different recycling organisations.

Bags should be emptied to remove as much of the content as possible. Empty bags may then be returned for recycling. In tests, bags emptied in this manner show only traces of residues and are considered non-hazardous. It should also be remembered that empty fertiliser bags or any other packaging, constitutes a fire risk and should not be stored close to fertiliser storage

Recycling options in Ireland

Yara has a responsibility because it places plastic packaging on the market, to contribute to the recycling costs of this plastic. Through our membership of REPAK, we pay fees to fund the recycling of the packaging we place on the Irish market. The Irish Farm Film Producers Group (IFFPG) collect this fertiliser plastic packaging on behalf of REPAK in Ireland.

IFFPG collects this fertiliser plastic packaging, by operating approximately 235 bring-centres annually, as well as providing a farmyard collection service. IFFPG charge a fee for collecting this fertiliser plastic packaging.

When presenting Yara fertiliser plastic packaging at IFFPG bring-centres, it is important to separate the different plastic types according to these categories:

  1. Plastic inner liners from 500 kg and 600 kg bags, empty 50 kg bags and the plastic hood’s that cover full pallets of 50 kg and 500 kg quad-packs bags.
  2. The woven outer liner of 500 kg and 600 kg bags.
  3. Triple rinsed YaraVita white hard plastic containers or drums.

More information on farm plastic collections can be found on the IFFPG website.

What can a farmer do to reduce the volume of packaging?

As a farmer, you can reduce the volume of packaging to dispose of by switching from buying fertiliser in small bags to use larger bags instead.  As an example, in Ireland where quad packs have traditionally been used, switching from these to top-lift bags gives a reduction in volume of 30% and removes the need for a wooden pallet too.

Recycling YaraVita packaging

YaraVita packaging is designed with recycling in mind and can all be recycled. Our 1, 5 and 10 litre packs have a “lift and peel” seal that is fully removable to improve recyclability and our 5 and 10 litre packs have a divorced handle for easy rinsing.

Our 1000 litre IBC’s can also be recycled, contact your local Yara area manager for more information.