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A Plea


jochta

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I've negotiated caching permissions with lots of Land Managers and Rangers, and they hate plastic bags because they look like litter and sometimes result in the death of wildlife that chew them. Please don't put our permissions at risk.

 

I don't understand why people want to camoflague a cache to look like litter. There are lots of great places and ways to hide a cache without resorting to geolitter.

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Just remove every bag you see (where it's feasible), the worst that'll happen is an irate cacher will post a topic "Phantom binbag blower" :D and you'll fail to be pilloried as a cache wrecker. :lol:

 

Incidentally hardware stores do duck (duct? I'm never sure) tape in brown, black, grey, green and blue. It's great for camoflaging tupperware, and as good as permenant - more permanent than a bag anyway. I couldn't find one of my own caches last week! :ph34r:

 

Adrian

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As I've only very recently wandered into this forum, I have to admit that I wasn't aware of this deep hatred of plastic bags... until I read Jochta's original rant... and he did it so well! I had a quick scan through the guidelines for "Placing Your First Cache" and although it advises what you shouldn't put in them, it doesn't advise what you shouldn't put them in. (Just had to re-read that - it does make sense, I think...) Surely it wouldn't be too difficult to add an extra sentence along the lines of "Please don't put your cache in a plastic bag because an animal might eat it and suffer a long, painful death." :D That would get my attention.....

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Just remove every bag you see

 

Not foolproof .

 

This week I returned to a cache that had not been placed in a polybag by owner ,but had been put in one by a subsequent finder .

I've just been told that 1 of my caches is in a tatty plaggy bag :D

 

I'll remove it in the next day or two :ph34r:

 

But we have to remember that it is not a gc.com guideline to not have them, more a UK desire :lol::lol:

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But we have to remember that it is not a gc.com guideline to not have them, more a UK desire :D  :ph34r:

That's fair enough and there will be times that removal will be inappropriate.

 

It would put the approvers in an awkward position to have an organised effort or policy and it must be remembered that these are NOT* rule breaking caches, they just go against the grain slightly.

 

Some spur of the moment wildcat action based on opportunity, common sense, countryside and wildlife preservation may go unpunished though...

 

EDIT - * depending on which permission they were placed under.

Edited by Kitty Hawk
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How about mentioning it in the log, possibly as standard wording so that we do not all struggle with finding ways of saying "get that slimy poisonous mess off that cache" without offence. This would then alert the cache owner, as they may be unaware of the guideline (or even the bag).

 

This would also spread the message to none forum readers, who might then join the campaign.

 

If someone posts standard wording (I have exhausted my braincell for the evening), I will use it.

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The only time I can see an issue is if subsequently the cache gets waterlogged (particularly, but not exclusively, if the cache box is a tatty ice cream tub which I have seen used almost as often as bin liners) :D I can see irate placers blaming the removers of the bin liners for ruining their caches!

 

I realise some people can not afford to spend a fortune on the caches they place but surely a couple of quid for a decent plastic box and some coloured duct tape isn't too much to ask?

 

I wonder if GAGB could come in here with an official line on what action they and cachers who come across bin liners can take? Ideally a UK extension to the rules on GC.com would also be appropriate and I shouldn't think TPTB would be against this. :D

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Ideally a UK extension to the rules on GC.com would also be appropriate and I shouldn't think TPTB would be against this. :D

Unfortunately if you had a UK "extension" you would also need a German extension, and a French extension, and an Australian extension, and...., and...., and..... etc. There are also great variations between US states.

 

The way Groundspeak handle regional variations is to use regional reviewers :D We are expected to be aware of local regulations and conventions. We have the authority to "interpret" the guidelines to suit local conditions.

 

As a for instance, we ignore the rule requiring caches to be at least 150ft away from active railway lines. In the US the railway company is deemed to own any land within 150ft of a track and public access is forbidden. Over here we have public footpaths much closer to, and in some case right across, railway tracks.

 

Conversely dry stone walls are unknown over there so no guideline covers them. We therefore apply our own prohibition to prevent inadvertant damage.

 

Plastic bags are a worldwide phenomenon and have been discussed in the main GC forums so may well get covered in any future re-write of the guidelines. In the meantime we prefer to use persuasion rather than an outright ban as any damage is restricted to caches rather than the meighbouring area. (Yes I know about possible litter but that's a separate issue!)

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The Hokesters wrote:

I wonder if GAGB could come in here with an official line on what action they and cachers who come across bin liners can take?

GAGB negotiate and monitor agreements with landowners, but we aren't, and don't want to be, "cache police". If we become aware of a cache placed under a GAGB/landowner agreement which doesn't meet the conditions of that agreement, we will do all we can to get matters put right. In the case of a plastic bag which is prohibited by the agreement, we'll ask the cache owner to remove the bag, and if they're not helpful we'll pursue the matter in whatever ways seem best in order to resolve the issue. Should the landowner choose to remove the bag, or indeed the cache, that's their prerogative, but we wouldn't advise individual cachers to do so.

 

Lactodorum has said that the issue may get covered in future gc.com guidelines, and we would be in favour of that as the best way forward.

 

I myself have removed plastic bags when they've obviously been a problem, and I've emailed the cache owner to tell them what I've done and why, but that's my approach as an individual.

 

---

 

Bill

Committee member, GAGB

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Bill is spot on in that the GAGB committee has agreed that we can't become the cache Police although we will attempt to apply landowner agreements where these require our guidelines to be applied as a condition of placement (including a ban on plastic bags).

 

However, I personally agree with the sentiment that I will try to maintain the caches that I visit according to the guidelines, for example I always remove matches (another box a few weeks ago) and remove plastic bags (if it isn't absolutely essential to the camoflague of the cache). I also carry GC.com laminated welcome notices, and zip lock bags.

 

There are enough of us reading the forums to maintain the majority of caches to a good standard. It's something that we should just do.

 

Dave

(GAGB committee)

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Here on the West Coast of Canada, we live in a temperate rainforest. Winters are very wet, and perhaps as a result, most caches I've found (not many, as I'm new) are wrapped in plastic. I have to agree now, in retrospect, that many have also been wet, notwithstanding the plastic bag. I have to agree with the theory that they tend to leak, and then trap moisture that would otherwise evaporate.

 

I have placed only one cache. It was a perfectly waterproof ammo box, but I had painted it bright orange so it could not be confused with its old function (I help coordinate military explosive ordinance disposal, and have knowledge of ammo boxes "found" by civilians that required formal disposal by military bomb technicians i.e. they blew it up). As a result, I put it in a black plastic garbage bag so the screaming-bright orange wouldn't attract unwanted attention.

 

After reading this thread, I think I'll skip putting bags over any future caches, and instead just paint the boxes a more subdued colour – still making sure they can’t be confused with a box of ordinance. In the mean time, though, if someone exposes my bright orange cache by removing the bag, it will no doubt quickly be muggled.

 

How about if I replace the plastic bag with burlap wrap or put it in a sandbag?

 

Hectorious

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Should the landowner choose to remove the bag, or indeed the cache, that's their prerogative, but we wouldn't advise individual cachers to do so.

<snip>

I myself have removed plastic bags when they've obviously been a problem, and I've emailed the cache owner to tell them what I've done and why, but that's my approach as an individual.

Hi Bill,

 

Thanks for coming in on this one to state GAGB's position. I still think that we need clear guidelines and if GAGB are not the folks to do that, then so be it. If we maintain this approach then this topic will continue to come up on a regular basis.

 

Simon (who still can't make up his mind what to do when presented with a smelly wet snail ridden plastic bin liner)

Edited by The Hokesters
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One thing I don't think has been mentioned...

Caches aren't the only things in plastic bags in some areas. I'm sure we've all been on cache hunts where in desperation we open a nearby bag only to find it full of rubbish. Once I even opened a bag to find it full of syringes!

All well and fine for those who wear gloves (and believe me, I'm starting to contemplate this too), but for those who go au naturel it can become a health issue.

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The Hokesters wrote:

I still think that we need clear guidelines and if GAGB are not the folks to do that, then so be it.

I agree absolutely that we need clear guidelines on plastic bags, but GAGB have no control over caches that aren't covered by our agreements. I think the way forward is for gc.com to include a ban in their future guidelines, which Lactodorum has said is on the cards.

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no lighters/matches

no plastic bags

 

what next???

 

no new caches????

 

let people cache as they want to cache, thats where the enjoyment is!

 

no one wants to be told they cannot do something when they enjoy doing it!

I'm not sure of the added enjoyment value provided by the addition of a black plastic bag. :laughing:

 

Is there some aspect to this game that I've been previously unaware of? I have noticed an increasing number of caches suggesting parking at certain, er, 'meeting' spots. :laughing:

 

Confused

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my only rant is that people on here seem to want to stop people placing things in caches which will help cachers (ie)

 

lighters and matches, these can be very useful in remote caches (such as the top of ben nevis), where the weather can change very quickly and it is easy to get caught out.

 

Batteries, these also can be very usful in caches - people seem to be worried about people biting into them. My gran aged 90 could bite through a battery for all i know but it doesnt stop me having batteries in her house!

 

also people want to stop people protecting their caches from weather, critters etc and so the use of bags is now outlawed.

 

I feel that people need to have a reality check and start using common sense!

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my only rant is that people on here seem to want to stop people placing things in caches which will help cachers (ie)

 

No...we want to stop people putting things into caches that could harm people.

 

lighters and matches, these can be very useful in remote caches (such as the top of ben nevis), where the weather can change very quickly and it is easy to get caught out.

 

If you're in a remote area where the weather is prone to change then you should have adequate kit with you to survive and extricate yourself from such a situation. To depend on the chance of finding a box of matches in a cache for survival is ridiculous.

 

Batteries, these also can be very usful in caches - people seem to be worried about people biting into them. My gran aged 90 could bite through a battery for all i know but it doesnt stop me having batteries in her house!

 

Batteries are useful things to find in caches but if they are left for long periods of time they will degrade and leak into the contents of the cache.

 

also people want to stop people protecting their caches from weather, critters etc and so the use of bags is now outlawed.

 

It makes much more sense to use a properly weatherproof container (see previous discussions on lock 'n' lock boxes and ammo boxes) and not to depend on a manky plastic bag. There are many more reasons for not using plastic bags than for using them.

 

Plastic bags are litter and they are dangerous to animals.

 

I feel that people need to have a reality check and start using common sense!

 

I think you should start taking your own advice :laughing:

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my only rant is that people on here seem to want to stop people placing things in caches which will help cachers (ie)

 

lighters and matches, these can be very useful in remote caches (such as the top of ben nevis), where the weather can change very quickly and it is easy to get caught out.

 

Batteries, these also can be very usful in caches - people seem to be worried about people biting into them. My gran aged 90 could bite through a battery for all i know but it doesnt stop me having batteries in her house!

 

also people want to stop people protecting their caches from weather, critters etc and so the use of bags is now outlawed.

 

I feel that people need to have a reality check and start using common sense!

 

As reviewers of new caches for gc.com Lactodorum and I are as bound by the guidelines as cache placers are.

 

We do our best to ensure that all the gc.com guidelines that are appropriate are adhered to (Lactod has mentioned the Railway guideline that we are not bound by, and the dry stone wall guideline that we are)

 

If there are other issues, such as black plaggy bags etc, we do our best to ask people to abide by UK guidelines such as the HCC ones or the GAGB ones, but we cannot require this.

 

As for cache contents:

 

"Cache Contents

 

Use your common sense in most cases. Explosives, fireworks, ammo, lighters, knives (including pocket knives and multi-tools), drugs, alcohol or other illicit material shouldn't be placed in a cache. As always respect the local laws. Geocaching is a family activity and cache contents should be suitable for all ages.

 

Food items are ALWAYS a BAD IDEA. Animals have better noses than humans, and in some cases caches have been chewed through and destroyed because food items (or items that smell like food) are in the cache. Even the presence of mint flavored dental floss has led to destruction of one cache.

 

If the original cache contents list any of the above items or other questionable items, or if a cache is reported to have the questionable items, the cache may be disabled, and the owner of the cache will be contacted and asked to remove the questionable items before the cache is enabled. "

 

I think this is quite clear..........., and this is how we approach the question of contraband.

 

We always try to ensure that cache placers, cache seekers and gc.com guidelines are kept in a happy equilibrium :laughing:

 

Cheers and Cache Well,

 

Eckington

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If there are other issues, such as black plaggy bags etc, we do our best to ask people to abide by UK guidelines such as the HCC ones or the GAGB ones, but we cannot require this.

I presume if GAGB guidelines are part of an agreement with a landowner, then placing a cache on that land, you would want to require that guideline, even if it is not a GC.com guideline?

 

For lathama, something that is common sense (your words) but not on the guidelines is 'not to cause damage to the enviroment'. As animals can chew through plastic bags, and councils regard them as litter, surely you can see that the do cause some sort of damage to the enviroment.

 

You just have to look at the fact the government want to charge for carrier bags, due to the fact of the impact on the enviorment. They want to cut down on their usage. Although not entirely the same it does have the same principles.

 

I for one, was a person who placed his caches in bags, I have now stopped this practice, and removed my caches that were in bags from them.

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I presume if GAGB guidelines are part of an agreement with a landowner, then placing a cache on that land, you would want to require that guideline, even if it is not a GC.com guideline?

 

No, we cannot require anything unless it is a gc.com guideline.

 

The only way this can happen at the moment is under the GAGB/NF agrerement. The GAGB act as "agents" for the NF. If we are asked to review a cache in the NF we look at it ref gc.com guidelines and publish it. At the same time we let the GAGB know. The will check the wording on the cache page etc, and if it does not comply with their NF agreement they will let us know that the cache has been placed without the landowners' consent.

 

We then archive and advise the setter that they need to get in touch with the GAGB to sort things out.

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The Hokesters wrote:

I still think that we need clear guidelines and if GAGB are not the folks to do that, then so be it.

I agree absolutely that we need clear guidelines on plastic bags, but GAGB have no control over caches that aren't covered by our agreements.

Sorry Bill - I think my last reply may well have been misinterpreted - I meant if GAGB were not the right body to do it then fair enough - I wasn't suggesting you were shirking :laughing:

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The Hokesters wrote:

I still think that we need clear guidelines and if GAGB are not the folks to do that, then so be it.

I agree absolutely that we need clear guidelines on plastic bags, but GAGB have no control over caches that aren't covered by our agreements.

Sorry Bill - I think my last reply may well have been misinterpreted - I meant if GAGB were not the right body to do it then fair enough - I wasn't suggesting you were shirking :laughing:

I didn't think you were suggesting that, Simon, I just wanted to make a clear statement. :laughing:

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Has anyone ever asked gc.com to add this to the requirements that they list ? it is such a common theme to agreements in the UK it must surely be in agreements elsewhere.

Edit see it's in the thread above sorry folk.

We always write about manky bags in our logs and have been known to CITO them if we remembered to bring a bag with us. What can be annoying is to traipse back to the car park with said bag and have to put it in the car as there are no bins.

Edited by markandlynn
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Perhaps spreading the word that black bin liners could encourage reptiles to the cache in the summer might persuade cachers who aren't already anti black bin liners.

 

I hadn't thought of that aspect until reading a log from a cache ,parts of which are quoted below .

 

...... the warden for the SSSI............. he would not like to see the black plastic round the lunchbox in the warmer weather as it will encourage reptiles the cache.
Edited by t.a.folk
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I visited one of my caches at the Scots border on mon and someone had wrapped it in a black bin bag for me, I removed the bag from that cache along time ago after reading the gagb guidlines.

another thing to mention about bags is , how many times have you passed through the countryside and seen the sileage bale raps littering places up and attached to barbed wire fences along the country lanes?

How many of you would pull up and knock on the farmers door and tell them of the dangers to animals? I suppose none of you . but it's easy to tell people what to do on here as your not face to face with them. I'm not getting at you all who are anti placka bag, it's just a question . I myself am now against the idea of covering a cache with a bag and have removed mine. So please dont take this to be a rude answer to the post.So honestly how many of you do see silage wraps littering the countryside roads and farm yards?

Nige

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So honestly how many of you do see silage wraps littering the countryside roads and farm yards?

Funny you should say that! Just last night I lit a bonfire of well over three tonnes of silage wrap and other plastic sacking material such as a few hundred 1-tonne bags which fertiliser comes in and several thousand square feet of silage clamp tarp material. The stuff is a menace if not properly disposed of, but it's a vital part of modern farming practice at our latitudes.

 

I would hope that any cacher who finds gash bits of silage wrap lying in fields with livestock do a spot of spontaneous CITO and remove the offending wrap from the field.

 

As for placcie bags being used to camouflage and/or protect caches, surely the sensible way to resolve this is for GC.com to either add a guideline to the effect that they are a proscribed item or to stop bleating about them. Make it a guideline, not a rule, because there are marginal situations where some additional wrapping with non-natural material is a very good idea.

 

Cheers, The Forester

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Once did a cache and the description informed me that it was in a black bin liner, so that was what I was looking for. Found a black bin liner only 3 yards from the final location; so I decided to go in. It was a rotting babies nappy (used and soiled :laughing: )

 

Moral of the story is that people dump these black bin liner all over the place (this might be wrong but it is true), and I guess that many have horrific surprises in them. So placing a cache in one is a very bad idea.

 

Milton (aka Moote)

 

P.S. I found the cache in the end (After a trip somewhere to wash my hands)

Edited by Moote
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Caches in bags. I hate them. Having recently done a couple of caches as follows.

 

Can I join in your rant?

 

Someone who has found our caches has wrapped them in tesco carrier bags. The first thing we know about it is when someone mentions that they have replaced the bag as the old one was ripped. Argh!

 

Sarah

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Funny you should say that!  Just last night I lit a bonfire of well over three tonnes of silage wrap and other plastic sacking material such as a few hundred 1-tonne bags which fertiliser comes in and several thousand square feet of silage clamp tarp material.  The stuff is a menace if not properly disposed of, but it's a vital part of modern farming practice at our latitudes.

Does proper disposal not mean recycling? You wouldn't get away with that here in Ireland and I thought we were behind the times :laughing:

 

We're not allowed to burn anything in our backyards anymore....doesn't always stop it happening though :P:laughing:

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Does proper disposal not mean recycling?

A common fallacy among those who know no better is that all plastics are recyclable. Perhaps they are in some parts of this spiral arm of the galaxy, but not for viewers in Scotland.

 

If anyone knows of a more efficient and economical way of getting rid of non-biodegradable farm waste, would they please put their solution on a postcard and send their theory to the government?

 

Landfill used to be regarded as a satisfactory method, but it's a sad fact that there are still people out there who fondly believe that plastics such as those used in black poly bag binliners are biodegradable. They are not! Neither are Tuley tubes photo-degradable, at least not at Latitude 55°+!!

 

Burying such material onsite is easily achievable as almost every farm which generates significant quantities has the necessary digging equipment and used to do so with materials such as the corpses of fallen stock, but that is not at all environmentally friendly. Fertiliser and other chenical bags and drums etc invariably have chemical residues on them, sometimes in very high concentrations, so burying them risks transmission of localised pockets of very high concentrations of potentially toxic materials directly into the groundwater and watercourses.

 

Storing the material above ground indefinitely is also not a viable option as there is a risk and eventually a certainty that spontaneous combustion will trigger uncontrolled fires in unsuitable locations.

 

Treating bulky materials such as chemical contaminated broken pallets as hazmat is hopelessy uneconomic and therefore quite impractical too.

 

What are the choices? Not many.

 

If we leave it to the Scottish Executive to solve the problem then we'll wait forever. That place, which is very patchy in its quality, is unfortunately staffed with some numpties who only sought refuge in their sinecures because they cannot get a job in the real world of commerce and industry. Even though hundreds of people, The Forester included, had actively campaigned for years for a proper recycling system to be emplaced in every Council region throughout Scotland, we still have a hopelessly inadequate system. In West Lothian, for example, they have recently started a multi-bin system for separation of all household waste into the coloured bins for recycling purposes, but they do not permit and loudly proclaim a ban on the inclusion of glass in the blue bin system which is designed for easily recycled mnaterials such as paper, (only!) two specific types of plastic, and all metals.

 

Glass is one of the easiest substances to recycle as it needs no chemical treatment in its processing, only recyclable heat. Despite the fact that glass is very dense and practically incompressible, it is decreed by West Lothian Council that they will not accept glass in any of the three coloured bins except the one which is destined for landfill.

 

I hope that any geocachers who take home bits of plastic such as binliners or silage wrap will very carefully consider how they propose to disintegrate and disperse the material.

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Does proper disposal not mean recycling?

A common fallacy among those who know no better is that all plastics are recyclable.

Coming from a Science background that label doesn't apply to me ;)

 

However, I was under the assumption that all silage wrap was recyclable. I was watching a farming report just this week that was bemoaning the fact that plastic collection from farms in Ireland had fallen drastically behind as the only company recycling the material has gotten itself into financial difficulties. Is it not possible that there is a recyclable alternative out there?

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Why did farmers start wrapping the hay ,or is it straw ,in black poly ?

It's silage that they wrap in plastic (well here in Ireland anyway) and I assume it makes the bales easier to store (no need for a silage pit) and more portable. In Ireland it's a common sight to see them stored in the corner of a field usually with interesting slogans and designs painted on them to help deter theft....similar to spraying sheep ;)

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Why did farmers start wrapping the hay ,or is it straw ,in black poly ?

Not straw. If it's done with hay it's called haylage, not silage.

 

Silage is freshly cut long grass which is wrapped tightly in plastic to exclude air. Aerobic bacteria would soon rot the silage, which is why the air must be kept out.

 

Anaerobic bacteria partly digest the silage, making a wonderfully sweet smelling and highly nutritious feed which is very palatable to cattle. In fact, with a good crop it even looks and smells good enough for a non-vegetarian like me to eat! Put some in a bowl and pour a wee bit of milk over it and you could almost have it for breakfast.

 

The bales easily last from one season to the next and can be used quite well 18 months after being harvested. Each bale of good quality stuff weighs about 650kg and can feed a lot of cattle for a whole day without any expensive feed supplements being necessary. Being already partly digested by the process of its formation it is very easily digested by ruminants such as cattle and there is a very good conversion rate of silage into beef.

 

The downside to those plastic wrapped bales is that there is a hell of a lot of plastic around them. In my part of the world we wrap at least six layers around each bale. Even on a smallholding such as Forester Towers we produce around 180 round bales of silage a year, so you can imagine how much plastic is used and discarded in the whole farmed area of almost a thousand acres in which I participate. The disposal problem is serious, but perhaps in the long-term it's much more serious that we are making that stuff out of completely unreplaceable oil.

 

Cheers, The Forester

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I was under the assumption that all silage wrap was recyclable.

It is recyclable, but for a sensible recycling program to be implemented would require joined-up thinking by government.

 

Here in Scotland we don't have any such thinking, instead we have an unfunny bunch of clowns which is euphemistically and flatteringly called the "Scottish Executive"(sic).

 

Central Scotland being the way it is, the government is a government of townies, by townies, for townies. They haven't got a clue when it comes to thinking things through in a rural environment. Something which might work in Govan-by-the Sea-by-the-way or in Morningside in Edinburgh looks totally stupid when the townies try to impose it on us in the countryside.

 

Example:

My local Council eventually succumbed to pressure from the Eurocrats and the numpties at the Scottie Executive and implemented a multi (coloured) bin system. Instead of a twice weekly rubbish collection system which some of the big cities enjoy(ed) we had a weekly collection from a wheelie bin. Now a wheelie bin is a brilliant idea if putting your rubbish out for the bin man involved a dozen metres of rolling across monoblock or tarmac driveway, but it's a totally different proposition if you, like me, have to do a weekly 420m slog over a rough gravel farm track to the front gate with a heavy wheelie bin. That was worthwile when they took the rubbish away, but now that they've got a townie-based separation system it's got quite silly.

 

In the weekly rotation system one of the three coloured bins is a brown one for compostable vegetable material only. That may make sense for someone on the third floor of a tenement building, whose idea of "land" is a couple of square feet of geraniums growing in a window-box or a suburbanite in a Barratt one-bedroom semi-detached house in Livingston with a postage-stamp sized "lawn" which needs to have its clippings disposed of two or three times a month in the summer, but it's bonkers for someone who has 19 acres of land around him upon which to keep a bio-friendly compost heap of his own going for one month and year to the next. Why would I want to trog 420 metres with a weighty wheelie-bin to export such waste to a diesel-guzzling truck to haul it ten miles away?! It just doesn't make any sense!

 

Instead, I have a monthly burn of all burnable domestic waste in my burning pit to reduce the backlog of stuff which I can no longer trundle down to the gate in the now discontinued weekly pickup of the ordinary wheelie bin. It's a step backwards perhaps in terms of atmospheric pollution, but it's one which is being forced on us country bumpkins by the ignorant townies.

 

Placcie bags, which are the topic of this thread, are not at all eco-friendly, though they may be (and are!) very useful to camouflage and protect caches.

 

Cheers, The Forester

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