The best way to dispose of net-wrap plastic used to pack and store hay bales is to throw it away with household trash, says Dirk Philipp, forage specialist with the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture.
At this point there are no recycling options available, and the plastic should not be burned, he adds.
"As with any plastic, burning plastics in an open fire will create hazardous compounds, such as carbon monoxide. Apart from air-polluting emissions, particulate matter can settle in the lungs of bystanders. Depending on the temperature of the fire, environmentally toxic compounds including carcinogens can be released.
Philipp urges producers to pick up net wrap once it's used – don't let it blow around into ditches or near barns or pastures.
"In these areas, the netting can then become choking hazards for livestock and wildlife, and create breeding grounds for mosquitoes or rodents. Often, used wrapping material ends up in ditches or stream channels where it can block the flow of water by being the perfect trap for drift wood or any other material.Without recycling, the next best thing producers can do is to meticulously collect and discard used net wrap with the household trash," he says.
"Although it is nobody's favorite job to unwrap bales during dark, cold winter days, the net should be removed entirely and securely stowed away on the pickup truck or in the tractor when moving around the farm.