Waste minimisation has many environmental and economic benefits - reducing the quantity of raw materials bought will save money and waste handling, as well as reducing management costs. The value of crops and livestock will increase as a production system that creates waste can often result in lower quality products. For example, poor control of grain drying will result in spoilt grain and lower prices. In addition, waste minimisation helps reduce the risk of air, water or soil pollution and makes it easier for producers to comply with waste management regulations, Defra (2001).
Measures to reduce the volume of waste produced on farm can be very simple. For example, by making silage clamps as deep as possible to reduce the amount of sheet required, getting tyre suppliers to take away worn tyres when new ones are fitted, and using biodegradable mulch film or plant pots. Many waste products can be reused or recycled: silage plastic and plastic crop cover can be reused; biodegradable waste can be composted providing farms with a valuable nutrient source; and paper and cardboard can be shredded and used as animal bedding.
Soil Association technical guidesThe following documents are available to members only:
- Making the most of farm waste (technical guide)
This technical guide considers 'on farm' waste minimisation and how to make the most of your resources. Chapters on new regulations, plastics, oils, energy and renewables.
- Making the most of waste in organic processing and retailing (technical guide)
Waste minimisation is of key importance to help organic businesses achieve the principles of sustainability at the heart of the organic standards. This guide will help you consider how to minimise your waste and make the most of your resources
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Waste minimisation case studies