Despite recent challenges with Sauk County’s ag plastics recycling programs caused by changes in international recycling markets, the county will continue allowing farmers to drop off recyclable plastics every other month.
The next collection for agricultural plastic waste such as silage bags, bunker covers, bale wrap, feed bags and hoop film to be recycled will be from 10 a.m. to noon Sept. 18 at the Sauk County Highway Shop in West Baraboo.
Justine Bula, education coordinator for Sauk County Land Resources and Environment, said the county offers the program to encourage farmers to be more environmentally friendly and keep plastic out of landfills.
“We want to keep as much of it going to the recycling program as possible,” Bula said. “It’s also really expensive for farmers to get dumpsters on their land to recycle the plastic.”
After materials are dropped off, they will be sent to Columbia County to be packed into bales and recycled.
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Bula said the Sauk County program has collected about 240 tons of plastic waste since 2013.
Another county plastic recycling program is on hiatus due to the changing marketplace for recyclables. The county suspended its program to provide free recycling dumpsters to 90 farmers around the county after its partner, Revolution Plastics, said it would start charging $4,500 a month to empty the dumpsters. Sauk County officials chose to suspend the program rather than pay the costs.
Bula said the future of that program is murky, but the county plans to continue providing drop-off recycling events like the one Sept. 18.
The county also is encouraging farmers to stop using “Super Sacks,” which sometimes are used to pack plastic waste to bring it to the recycling location. Bula said the packages are not recyclable and farmers instead should bundle up plastic waste using twine. The county also does not accept bale mesh or netting, as it is not recyclable and should be sent to a landfill.
Ag plastics can be dropped off for recycling in Sauk County from 10 a.m. to noon on the third Wednesday of every other month.