Biodegradable silage wrap, the next big solution?


With CAP 2020 set in a few years time, farmers will face many extra challenges to try and meet climate change targets, but could biodegradable silage wrap be one of them?

Biodegradable silage wrap, the next big solution?

  • ADDED
  • 5 mths ago

With CAP 2020 set in a few years time, farmers will face many extra challenges to try and meet climate change targets, but could biodegradable silage wrap be one of them?

Waste materials, especially those made of plastics have become the hot topic in recent months, with the world’s ocean floors said to be littered with plastic bags and other items.

This is led to the discovery/development in recent times, by the Salt Water Brewery in Florida, of edible beer can rings. Beer can rings were one of the causes of many fish and sea bird kills recent studies have confirmed and this new design is completely safe for sea creatures of all kinds. Check out the design below!



The design is 100% edible and is in fact made from Wheat and barley ribbons, which are part of the brewing process. This makes one ponder, is anything being done to conquer the silage wrap waste problems?

A research study carried out by the Environmental Protection Agency of Ireland from 2007 to 2013 and found that the conversion of non-degradable plastics
to biodegradable plastics was possible and even licensed the technologies created to a UCD spin-off company called Bioplastech. You can read the EPA report in its entirety at here.

Other designs -
In 2016, three PhD students from London Imperial college announced their design, which is both edible and biodegradable.

The three students, Nick Aristidou, Will Joyce and Stelios Chatzimichail,came up with the BioNet biopolymer project two years ago. They developed the idea, after one of the lads witnessed a cow on his family farm, dying from the consumption of silage plastic. The boys won the Venture Catalyst Challenge in 2016 winning a £10,000 prize.

The students thought of everything in their design, saving farmer's the extra labour taking off plastic wrapping, by making it an edible product which allows cows to eat open the bales themselves. They have also added minerals to their formula, to allow for healthier meat and milk production. They estimate that their design will be ready to hit fields by the end of this year. Keep updated here

Check out the short clip of their design below - Vid Nick Aristidou.
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One young Irish BT Young Scientist wannabe, Tierna MaGuire, also developed an edible silage wrap design for the competition back in 2016, though we are yet to hear any more from the Offaly native.

Having looked at the evidence, edible or biodegradable silage wraps might be a thing of the not-so-distant future, in what will be one more box ticked for CAP. Though any design would have to first face the true test that is Irish Agriculture, though it is a nice idea all the same.

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