Agricultural Plastics Recycling in the Dominican Republic

Agricultural Plastics Recycling in the Dominican Republic

 

Melissa Kono

University of Wisconsin-Extension

Speaker Bio:

Melissa Kono is a Community Resource Educator with the University of Wisconsin-Extension in Clark County, the #1 Dairy Producing county in the state.   Ms Kono has a Masters Degree in Public Policy and Economic Development from the Humphrey Institute for Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota—Twin Cities and a Bachelors Degree in Global Studies and Sociology also from the University of Minnesota.   Ms Kono has worked with several non-profits including Minnesota International Health Volunteers and the United Nations Association in Minnesota. She has been working as a consultant for the U.S. Agency for International Development since 2014, completing a project for them in the Dominican Republic on Ag Plastics Recycling in the Banana Industry.

Abstract:

I completed a project with USAID with recycling agricultural plastics used in the Banana Industry in the Dominican Republic. The Dominican Republic is the main exporter of organic bananas in the world. This emphasis on organic and fair trade bananas has encouraged the industry to strengthen environmentally conscience production methods and further address recycling efforts in banana production. The biggest challenge for these producers has been the disposal of the plastic bags used to protect the bananas from disease and pests during the growing process. The bags are made of a low-density plastic making it difficult to recycle as it is a less desirable product to recyclers. Producers have required farmers to collect the plastic and some have established collection routes. However, end-uses for the plastic have not been well-established, leaving the plastic to sit in either producer collection areas or ultimately ending up in landfills where it is burned. Burning the plastic releases carcinogenic toxins and the plastic does not fully burn, leaving a melted waste product.

To view the full Agenda click on this link:

http://agplasticconference.com/agenda/

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