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Did you know farmers use hundred-thousand tons of plastic to grow their fruits and vegetables and it doesn’t get recycled after use?
It is a long-established farming practice to use plastic to enhance the growth of fruits and vegetables. Farmers use plastic mulch to control weeds, pests and to retain water. At the end of the season most of the material ends up in landfills, burnt in the field or buried in the soil. All of these also contribute to the proliferation of microplastic particles that has detrimental affects for all species. For example farmers in Maryland use 200-800 tons of plastic mulch per year but there is no agricultural waste recycling program in the DelMarVa region. Given the scale at which farming produces plastic waste, the safe disposal of agricultural plastics is a critical initiative in the Chesapeake region. This work joins the United Nation’s universal call for a Decade of Action to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), specifically supporting the implementation of SDG12- Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.
Repurpose Farm Plastic LLC. will help farmers on the Eastern Shore and beyond to recycle their plastic waste by 2030. To address this need, we are creating a process to collect, clean and repurpose agricultural plastic to drive sustainable recycling practices in farms and beyond. We are a scalable business that creates a valuable product which can be sold for profit.
The idea to recycle farm plastic was born at the University of Maryland, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Enterprise Challenge (2020), which Kris participated and her team won the grand prize. The team has changed since, but her passion and enthusiasm for the project never stopped. Kris grew up in a lineage of farmers. She has a track record for solving complex scientific problems and being in leadership positions. Kris uses her interpersonal skills to promote awareness of Plastic Pollution and leading the startup to success.
Kris earned her Ph.D. in Entomology at the University of Maryland. Her previous educations are in Agricultural Engineering (BSc, MSc) at the University of West Hungary (Hungary) and in Evolutionary and Behavioral Ecology (MSc) at the University of Exeter (United Kingdom).
Ben joined to the team at the early stage of this endeavor. He is the perfect addition, as it has been his dream for years to build a plastic recycling machine. He has tried and failed to create his own machines to process plastic, but he has not given up! Ben is a DIY enthusiast who became inspired to work with plastic recycling by people such as Dave Hakkens (Precious Plastic), and by his experience working with a community recycling organization.Ben developed multiple designs and prototypes to clean agricultural plastic. Currently, He is working with two groups of Engineering students to complete the design.
Ben earned his Ph.D in Neuroscience and Cognitive Science at the University of Maryland, College Park. Previously He studied Psychology at University of Pittsburgh (BSc) and the University of Oregon (MSc).
Your contribution will enable us to support a sustainable agriculture at the Eastern Shore. We are very grateful for your generosity.
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Wye Research Center
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