On site grain bag storage has become a popular alternative to normal storage bins in the last few years, but officials say there is one problem with it.
It leaves behind hundreds of pounds of hard–to–dispose of plastic waste.
Now one organization in the Lower Republican area is taking it upon itself to recycle the bags and make it easier for farmers to dispose of them.
You have most likely seen them all over this year, long white bags full of grain stretching hundreds of feet in fields.
For folks like Marlin Murdoch, who farms in an around Oxford and Orleans and acts as chairman for the Lower Republican Natural Resources District, the bags are a more convenient and affordable option than making many trips from field to grain bin.
“Mainly its to expedite the harvest. So you aren’t waiting in line for trucks and things like that, and then it kind of gives those who don’t have storage a way to catch a little bit of basis out there to help them get a little extra revenue that way,” said Murdoch.
Using bags for the last few years Marlin could see their benefits, but had reservations about the plastic waste they produce, so he brought the issue to the NRD.
“The idea was brought forth from our chairman Marlin Murdoch who inquired what can be done with these. From there we started looking into it. Nobody from the state of Nebraska that we are aware of is taking on this effort. So we are taking a shot at it, we have identified a recycler that we plan to work with and get as many of these bags out of the region that we can,” said Scott Dicke, assistant general manager of the Lower Republican NRD
Right now, it is a struggle for farmers to dispose of the bags. The bags are often too big for many landfills to handle, and other disposal options like burning or burying aren’t environmentally friendly.
“Depending on the length of the grain bag they can weigh as much as 300 to 800 pounds rolled up kinda like a hay bail so they are big. They take up too much space in the landfill and makes them difficult to work with. They also cost for the guys to transport them up there and there aren’t landfills close to everyone,” said Dicke.
The grain bag program is just starting in the Lower Republican NRD as they send out surveys to farmers to find out who has the bags and where they should be recycling them and they hope to have the program up and running by March.