Agricultural Plastics Monitoring
Agriculture contributes to the open space and beauty of California in addition to supplying healthy vegetables, berries and other foods needed for human vitality. ‘Plasticulture’ is the use of plastic in agriculture to increase productivity, use resources more efficiently and improve the economic viability of farms that supply food to the nation.
Plastic used in California food crop production amounts to about 50,000 tons per year and comes in many forms including in-field drip irrigation systems that can save up to 80% of water use; mulch in strawberry production that can lengthen the growing season by three weeks while also increasing yields and reducing herbicide use; hoop houses, fumigation tarps, animal exclusion fencing and packaging. Each of these plastic uses involves different types of plastic and requires different decision points for purchase and end-of-life disposal.
The California Marine Sanctuary Foundation is committed to finding the best solutions for the quantity and diversity of plastic used in California agriculture by connecting producers with information and sources for responsible end-of-life plastic management decisions or replacement alternatives.