Farm plastics and farm plastic recycling were the topics of discussion for the latest meeting of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine yesterday (Tuesday, May 18).

The committee heard from the general manager of the Irish Farm Film Producers Group (IFFPG) Liam Moloney that the Littleton plant, based in County Tipperary, is set to increase production at the site.

Commenting after the meeting yesterday, Oireachtas committee chairman, Tipperary TD Jackie Cahill welcomed this development and said:

“I was pleased to invite the general manager of the Irish Farm Film Producers Group and other representatives of the industry before the agriculture committee today and to hear of the IFFPG’s plans to increase its output at the Littleton plant in Co. Tipperary.

“The Littleton plant has robust machinery and in recent times has invested significantly in the plant to allow for the recycling of farm plastics. There are currently some 25-30,000t of plastics stockpiled here in Ireland as a result of market conditions.

“It comes as very welcome news, both environmentally and economically, that these plastics would be processed and recycled here, at home in Ireland, rather than exported around the globe.

“This decision by the IFFPG to increase production at the Littleton plant makes environmental and economic sense, and I am delighted to see the Oireachtas Agriculture Committee contributing to this positive result today,” Cahill concluded.

Meanwhile, Sinn Féin TD for Tipperary Martin Browne also commented on the Littleton news and farm plastic recycling, stating:

“I was glad to be told…that the machinery at the Littleton plant has been ‘dramatically improved’ and that the plant is due to start commercial operation within the next couple of weeks.

“This is good news for the recycling efforts of our farmers, who, the committee was told, have an exemplary record in recycling farm plastics and paying for it.

“However, concerns were expressed that our farmers are paying deposits for the plastic and for it to be returned for recycling,” the TD noted.

“Issues in the collection system also became obvious, with the Irish Farm Film Producers Group availing of 100% of the plastics levy, yet admittedly not collecting 100% of the waste.

“Much of the shortfall is being taken up by private operators who do not enjoy any of that levy.

“It has also emerged that there are considerable stockpiles of farm plastics due to issues with our ability to recycle internationally following the decision by the Chinese authorities to cease importing all plastic waste.

“Much needs to be done to improve our own recycling capabilities, and I believe the Littleton plant will have a key role to play,” deputy Browne said.