Shout Out to Farmers on Plastic Disposal

Posted on: 1st October 2021

Shout out to Farmers on plastic disposal as (whoopee!) the Environment Agency want to work with and support farmers’ to dispose of plastics properly, which will be great for our local environment. I’ll be honest here, whilst there has been a great awareness in the need to reduce plastics and the emergence of plastic free towns etc. I do get very irritated (almost cross) about the plastic strewn around fields, footpaths and hedges that comes from farming. I have been known to shout (at no-one in particular) “Can they (farmers) not see this plastic on their lanes and our highways?

Plastic from farming blows into our environment

Along our footpaths, lanes and hedges

Here are the details of how Farmers can get involved to start on the journey to solving this problem:

The Environment Agency is working on a new and exciting behaviour change project focussed on how we can support farmers to correctly dispose of agricultural plastics. They are working together with Defra’s Strategic Behavioural Insights Team, the Environment Agency’s Plastics and Sustainability Team, and the independent social research agency, Kantar Public.

The specific project aims are:

1. To understand the system which enables/prevents farmers from correctly disposing of agri-plastics;
2. To develop intervention ideas (such as a good waste management guide) aimed at increasing recycling rates;
3. To prove the effectiveness of the intervention ideas.

The team are working in collaboration with stakeholders in the sector including waste collectors, manufacturers, reprocessors, farm assurance schemes, NFU and CLA. And, of course, farmers, who are key stakeholders in the context of this research.

Kantar would like to interview farmers on a one-on-one basis to understand their current practices, perceptions and behaviours relating to agri-plastic waste collection and disposal, to identify the full range of barriers and motivators to them correctly disposing of waste.  This will inform the development of potential interventions. These interviews will use a mix of online, telephone and farm visits in October and November. Dates and times to best suit the farmer.

If you or any farming colleagues/friends would like to be involved please could you contact:
Fiona Tovey at
Fiona would then share this with Kantar so they can arrange the interview.

It must be stressed that this is a collaborative project.  The EA and Defra will not be using any information to take regulatory or enforcement action.  They are striving to better understand the challenges and opportunities, helping farmers to do the right thing and dispose of waste correctly.

Thank you in advance, from the bottom of my heart, if you sign up or persuade a local farmer to do so!