An unusual recycling scheme, which involves waste producers working hand-in-hand with local farmers, could end up benefiting from an announcement by the deputy Prime Minister that he wants to promote ethical programmes which also involve sound business thinking.
The Land Network started recycling bio-waste in the 1990s and has now turned that into a profitable business, by selling the recycled material to farmers as an alternative to the usual fertilisers. In fact, the farmers don’t really pay for natural compost at all, instead paying the Land Network a fee for delivering the product; in return farmers are often the main source of the bio-waste which the Land Network needs in order to keep running at a profit.
Along with the obvious green benefits that products are being recycled and reused more often, the Land Network programme also cuts down the amount of heavy goods traffic on country roads and has even lead to biofuels being grown with the help of compost made from recycled bio-waste.
The farmers who use the scheme are even given shares in Land Network, and experts believe that the scheme could be saving the British agricultural industry over £2 million every year by cutting spending on commercial fertilisers.
There are Land Network centres all over the UK, each run by a local company. The proceeds are split between the local farmers and the Land Network, with the former owning 90% and the latter just 10%. There is one farm in the UK that has turned over more than 15,000 acres of its land to the scheme – and the amount of recycled biowaste, currently standing at around 20,000 tonnes each year, is increasing all the time.