What is ERDE?

ERDE (Crop Plastics Recycling Germany) is an initiative of producers and distributors of crop plastics such as silo film, stretch film or bale nets and is affiliated to the IK Industrievereinigung Kunststoffverpackungen e.V. (Industrial Association for Plastic and Packaging).


What are the advantages of the ERDE system?

All participants involved in the ERDE recycling of crop plastics (including agricultural film, nets and yarns) such as producers, distributors, traders, machinery rings, supply agencies, farmers, waste management companies and recyclers make a significant and demonstrable contribution to sustainable agriculture through

  • the recycling of the collected film. All collected film is recycled in a resource-saving manner and does not go into waste incinerators.
  • the CO2 savings achieved by recycling compared to energetic recycling
  • the prevention of the introduction of crop plastics into the environment, including the introduction of microplastics into soil and water.

For farmers, the advantages also lie in significantly lower costs for the disposal of used film, nets etc. compared to regular alternative disposal options. Proof of proper disposal can also be issued with a certificate showing the CO2 savings.

All participants involved in ERDE recycling benefit from the fact that the ERDE system is now well known within politics and the media. This has also been helped by the submission of a Voluntary Commitment to the Federal Environment Ministry in 2019. This will improve the image of the entire industry, as well as of individual companies such as the ERDE members, the more than 400 collection points listed and the farmers who actively participate in the collection.

As a partner of politics at federal and state level, ERDE is the only recovery and recycling system to offer a nationwide structured disposal option with organised collection and recycling.


How is ERDE organised?

  • The lead executing agency of the recovery system is the Industrievereinigung Kunststoffverpackungen e.V.
  • ERDE members are the agricultural film/net producers and they finance the support of the collection.
  • Traders, machinery rings, supply agencies or waste management companies provide the ERDE collection points.
  • Farmers bring swept and sorted film to the collection point
  • RIGK, as the ERDE system operator, supports the establishment of the collection points with inspection personnel, the implementation of the collection and proper documentation and offers the collection points support through various communication measures (including posters, newsletters and promotional films).


How can I participate as a trader/farmer/supply agency?

In principle, anyone can become a collection partner.

It is possible to collect the silo and bale stretch film at the operating site (keep fractions separate).

Bale netting is collected in bags (the conditions of acceptance must be observed). A scale is useful, but the settlement with the farmer can also be done by volume estimation. Container logistics can be carried out with a partner of your choice or also via RIGK.  The ERDE trustee requires documentation of the collected quantity and the recycling that has taken place in the follow-up to the collection.

Financial support is provided by the fund fed by film and net producers, which is administered by RIGK and is distributed after verification by an independent trustee.


How much does disposal at the ERDE collection point cost?

The exact costs vary depending on the region and collection time. Generally the depositor saves 30-50% in relation to a collection for energetic recycling. The respective costs can be obtained directly from the collection point.


Who are the ERDE collection partners?

Companies of cooperative and private agricultural trade as well as machinery rings, supply agencies and waste management companies operate ERDE collection points. All year round or on one or two dates, they take back the swept crop plastics at a reasonable price. In addition, direct collection by waste management companies from the farmer is offered regionally and depending on the quantity collected.

An overview of the collection points can be found on the homepage and in the app. (App only in German available)


Where is the collected film recycled and what is the result? 

All collected film is recycled within the EU, but mainly in Germany. There is no export outside the EU. The film is washed, shredded and extruded into granules. These plastic recyclates are then further processed into film, bags or other plastic products.


What has ERDE achieved so far?

In 2019, ERDE collected almost 20,500 tonnes of silo and stretch film and recycled them. This corresponds to over 40% of the total market volume.


How big is the climate protection contribution made by ERDE?

ERDE was able to save the equivalent of 28,316 tonnes of CO2 in 2019. This is the CO2 equivalent of more than 2 million trees, which is the same as an area of approximately 3,750 football pitches.


To what extent is ERDE accepted within agriculture?

The steady increase in the quantities collected and in the number of farms involved in collection shows the far-reaching acceptance of the ERDE system among farmers, machinery rings and agricultural traders.

All participants make their specific contribution to the success of the ERDE system.  The farmer makes an important contribution to subsequent recycling by separating the different materials according to their type. Traders, machinery rings and the other collection partners get involved by organising collections and thus offer a considerable customer/member service. The participating producers financially support the proper collection and recycling by setting up a fund.


Are there still producers of film and nets who do not participate in the ERDE system?

Unfortunately, there are still producers of film and nets who are unaccountable to their agricultural customers. Therefore, please check each time you buy film or nets whether the products come from ERDE members. Show your solidarity towards agriculture and environmental protection: insist on products from ERDE members with your next purchase.