Abandoned Plastics Find a Home!
    Every year, tens of millions of pounds of plant nursery products are wasted. Bailing twine, flower
    pots, and greenhouse plastics are regularly dumped, burned, or stacked after their useful life.
    The agriculture industry throws away at least as much plastic as the total amount of curbside
    recyclables collected across the country. No gardeners reuse plastic materials due to the
    possibility of lingering diseases and no recyclers take them because of their difficulty to process
    and their low market value.

    Agri-Plas, Inc. has come to the rescue! Agri-Plas, Inc. is the only agricultural plastic recycling
    center in the nation that collects all types of plastic—types that other recyclers won't touch, like
    HOPE pots, pesticide containers, and styrene trays. There  are more than 2,000 nurseries in
    Oregon, only 50 of which send their plastic to Agri-Plas, but these alone create 80,000 pounds
    of waste every week for the company to  clean, chip, and resell.

    At Agri-Plas, Inc., plastics are fed into large machines—the granulator, aspirator, and
    extruder—where they are chipped and cleaned with high-pressure air. This process prevents the
    waste water runoff problematic to other recycling facilities. Agri-Plas, Inc. sells the clean plastic
    pellets to a variety of manufacturers to be melted into new products. Polypropelene from old
    nursery  pots is melted and blended into  new plant containers, reducing the need for virgin
    material by  10 to 20 percent. Bailing twine formerly used to hold hay is refashioned into auto
    parts. The plastic film used to cover greenhouses—replaced every 1 to 4 years—is turned into
    plastic lumber.

    Recycling all types of plastic waste is a labor-intensive process that leads to high overhead
    costs and low profits. But the husband-wife team that owns this facility doesn't run it to make a
    fortune. Allen Jongsma declared: "We don't make a lot of money on this, but the overall goal  is
    that in years from now, you won't find piles of gardening refuse in  the countryside or buried or
    burned." Dari Jongsma makes it clear why she created this facility: "There's only so much
    Mother Earth has to give, and if we don't start appreciating  it,  we won't have anything left."

    For more information, contact Dari  Jongsma, President, at 503 390-2381 or
United States Bivironmental Protection Agency
Cffice of Solid V\feste and Emergency Response (5306\Ai)
July 2003