It’s no secret farms alike have been long asking themselves the question of ‘what to do with the accumulating pile of bale plastic behind the barn?’ It has been approximated that Ontario farmers use about 10 million pounds of bale wrap each year. Bale wrap is a brilliant solution to preserving ones hay crop over the winter months without the expenses of putting up a new building. Many farmers have bought into this product because of its effective usage and reliability. The question is now what are farmers to do with the increasing mountainous piles of plastic? Blue box programs will not accept it, it costs extra money to bring to a landfill site and burning is illegal. But for farmers in southwestern Ontario a possible solution exists. Think Plastics Inc. has approached farmers and set up numerous drop off locations for the collection of the reused round bale plastic. The company utilizes the material and produces Baleboard, a durable plastic lumber product.
The idea is superb, but like any new company trying to start off they have come across a few bumps in the road. Problem number one is that presently supply of the bale plastic is much greater than the demand for the product. Consumers need to be better educated as well, to know that the plastic lumber is just a durable as wood and can be used for barn flooring, horse stables and fencing. Marketing strategies need to be applied to get the product out onto the market as the new ‘green’ alternative to lumber.
Think Plastics Inc. has put forth a great program and realistic solution to the bale wrap issue. I was very shocked to read that there has been no interest in research from Canadian companies or universities into possible alternative uses for recycled bale plastic. Personally I think that since the University of Guelph is know for it’s extensive research in agriculture, they would have hopped on the wagon and been at the fore front of this situation! Society seems to be constantly moving to a more ‘green’ and sustainable attitude towards everything from toilet paper to cars. Developing new products from recycled bale plastic capitalizes on a what I would see to be an up and coming niche market.