Stacks of black-coloured round bales of silage might soon be a thing of the past with the first farmers in Northern Ireland and Scotland now using clear silage wrap.

The new bale wrap is being offered as part of a joint initiative by Emerald Isle Recycle in Northern Ireland, and Solway Recycling in Scotland.

According to Roy Livingston of Emerald Isle Recycle based in Co Antrim, the clear product provides the same level of protection as coloured film. But it should lead to less bird damage, reduced visual impact on the environment and makes it easier for farmers buying bales to see the material inside.

“We have the clear plastic in stock. It’s in and around the same price as the black plastic, and from a reputable supplier who also sells black plastic. We don’t know whether it will take off or not, but the initial feedback is very positive. We will see what the farmers say when they go to use the bales,” he told the Irish Farmers Journal.

However, perhaps the main benefit of using clear plastic wrap is that it is then potentially more attractive to companies recycling the used plastic. Livingston believes it could be a “real game-changer” and potentially lead to lower recycling costs for farmers.

“Black plastic has a limited use for recycling – essentially, it can only be recycled into products that are also black. But with the clear plastic, it opens up a whole new spectrum of products – you could put a dye in and create whatever colour you want,” he said.

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