Spain advances in agricultural plastic waste management with creation of MAPLA

MAPLA, the new agricultural plastic producers’ association, will organise a national management system for agricultural plastic waste to facilitate recycling.

MAPLA (Medio Ambiente Agricultura y Plásticos – Environment Agriculture & Plastics) has been set up with the primary objective of organising and helping to finance a new system for the management of non-packaging agricultural plastic waste. Promoted by ANAIP, CICLOPLAST and APE EUROPE, along with other founding members, MAPLA was created by Spanish manufacturers and importers of agricultural plastics. The Association will be headquartered in Andalusia.

90% of agricultural plastic film converters and producers are represented in MAPLA. It is envisaged that the association will gradually expand to include other plastic products used in agricultural production (ropes, meshes, trellis netting, irrigation tapes, etc.) Spain is the biggest European market for these products, due to the fact that it has a large surface area devoted to protected crops. Thanks to plastic, crops yields are far better and there are considerable savings in terms of resources (water, energy, agrochemicals and fertilisers).

MAPLA will organise used film management throughout Spain, and will contribute to the financing of the collection and recovery of this waste through an eco-contribution at the time of the initial commercialisation of these products. This is similar to other models already implemented in Spain for tyres, packaging and electronic equipment.

MAPLA’s goals are to prevent the disposal of agricultural plastic products in the natural environment, to facilitate farmers in the correct management of their waste, and to increase plastic collection and recycling rates. This will enable the transformation of waste into resources, in line with the European Plastics Strategy, thereby fostering the Circular Economy.

A lot of non-packaging agricultural plastic waste is already being recycled but an organised model will facilitate management for crop and livestock farmers, and make the process far more efficient.

The first collection operations organised by MAPLA are planned for 2021. MAPLA invites farmers, coops, marketers, distributors and processors to join the new national model, which seeks to satisfy farmers’ needs more efficiently, whilst contributing to environmental protection.