Towards sustainable agriculture

World resources are shrinking. Today’s waste could become a recyclable material tomorrow.

The main challenges of today’s world are a growing population, dwindling resources and climate change.

Agriculture is also facing the very same challenges, yet its productivity should increase by 60% in the next 25 years, but not at the expense of biodiversity.

Challenges

Farmers are currently facing a difficult task – to ensure sufficient, affordable and high quality food with minimal use of the necessary resources. Sustainable agriculture facilitates achieving this goal

through integrated pest management i.e. combining the best features of conventional and organic farming systems. Integrated pest management uses all the available plant protection methods, first of all agrotechnical, mechanical, physical and biological, and only when these fail, farmers reach for chemical plant protection products.

Sustainable agriculture also means responsibility for the packaging of plant protection products.

For many years, the plant protection products industry has been showing care for the environment and educating on how to store, use and manage the packaging of plant protection products.

In Poland, in 2004, the PSOR Collection System was established to collect and manage waste from plant protection products. The system encompasses a year-round collection of packaging as well as education on the preparation and proper storage of used plant protection products packaging. Packaging should be clean, thoroughly emptied and rinsed at least three times. Properly prepared packaging should be returned to the shop or wholesale outlets where the farmer purchased the products.

Outcomes

Over 17,500 thousand tons of packaging have been collected from the market since the launch of the system. This is more than 50% of packaging of the purchased products. In comparison, in case of households, about 13% of waste is recycled. We should follow the example of farmers.

Proper management of waste is extremely important for both the environment and the economy. Waste can become valuable raw materials – if properly managed, e.g. the packaging of plant protection products is suitable for products that do not come into contact with food, e.g. casing pipes for fibre optics or drainage pipes.

Proper management of waste is extremely important for both the environment and the economy. Waste can include valuable raw materials – if it is properly managed, e.g. packaging of plant protection products is suitable for products that do not come into contact with food, e.g. casing pipes for fibre optics or drainage pipes.

Within the framework of supporting the GOZ concept, PSOR conducts extensive educational activities: information campaigns and training on safe use of plant protection products and  appropriate management of the packaging of used products. Under the slogan „Every package counts” we are running an educational campaign aimed at users and sellers of plant protection products, thanks to which it is possible to gradually increase the percentage of packaging collection.

The author represents PSOR – Polish Crop Protection Association

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