Plastic is used a lot in Spanish agriculture, especially for the mulching technique. It is estimated that around 110-130 thousand hectares are covered. If we consider that consumption per hectare is 150 kg, we can get an idea of the huge volume of plastic used.
According to professor Lluìs Martìn Closas from the University of Leida, "the problems is that plastic leaves residues. Once cultivation is over, films are collected and handed to a waste collection company at an estimated cost of €115-150 per hectare."
"Films are usually dirty with vegetable residues and, sometimes, even residues of plant protection products, so they need to be washed before they are recycled. This process is rather expensive. Other problems are connected to the fact that films alter soil properties, especially when it comes to water retention."
Using biodegradable plastic such as Novamont's Mater-Bi
is a solution for the residues currently generated by polyethylene. Once producers start using biodegradable plastic, they find it a good solution as they just need to bury the films once cultivation is over.
"We verified that the biodegradation capability of our soil through bioreactors shows that the system is actually biodegrading."