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Program aims to turn agricultural plastics into diesel fuel

Recycling has almost become second nature for most of us at home, but there’s a new program just getting off the ground that the solid waste community says is very much needed. Madison County is now taking agricultural plastics to recycle and turn into diesel fuel.
Canastota (WSYR-TV) -- Recycling has almost become second nature for most of us at home, but there’s a new program just getting off the ground that the solid waste community says is very much needed. Madison County is now taking agricultural plastics to recycle and turn into diesel fuel.

A Canastota farm in Madison County is taking full advantage of the program that’s just starting out.

“It usually takes up to 25-30 percent of our dumpster every week. We bundle it up and throw it in the dumpster and it goes to the landfill every week,” said Rick Carrier, with ABC Farms.

Carrier figures he uses about 3,000 pounds of plastic a year from his farm, which is mostly used to cover his silage. It’s why he has decided to recycle rather than discard.

Across Central New York it’s estimated that farms produce about 630 tons of plastic waste. What doesn’t end up in the landfill is either burned or buried. It’s why Madison County is trying to get farmers to recycle – even if it takes an extra step or two. Carrier says it should catch on.

“It’s like the recycling, in the beginning, it was difficult. It was something you had to think about to do, but the same thing will capture the agriculture industry,” Carrier explained.

Madison County is trying to convince the company they're working with now, that takes the agricultural plastic out to Niagara Falls to turn into diesel fuel, to actually set up a regional facility at the Madison County landfill. That would cut out the very expensive cost of trucking the plastic.

"If they produce a product, such as diesel fuel, that can be utilized regionally, our goal would be to try and utilize the diesel fuel that's generated in our own equipment at the landfill site,” said Madison County Solid Waste Commissioner Jim Zecca.

And diesel fuel, they say, is the first, but not the only product that can be made out of the recycled plastic, which is already piling up at the Madison County Landfill site.

AG Plastic recycling is voluntary right now. Madison County is accepting it at their transfer stations in Cazenovia, Sullivan and Hamilton along with the recycling center at the landfill.

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