The Great Deflation of SCAPA – the shortfall in statements

As I was promise, it is high time I explained why I think AIPROM does not publicly communicate the results of the SCAPA waste collection, not even upon request from MARD/NPA. As was saying before, it seems that when you organise a collection system with ecological purposes, when you collect 58% of all packaging placed on the market in 2012, you should have every reason to be proud, to promote communication and to receive applause from your partners, customers and the civil society.

Eventually, you should publish all sorts of plans on how to get as close to 100% and ensure that no potentially contaminated packaging of your product gets to a recycler without proper controls in place or is illegally managed; it would be ideal to create a functional and binding partnership with the National Phytosanitary Guard and with the National Environmental Guard. Such beautiful dreams.

Let’s continue with a German approach, namely with a short mathematical demonstration of the SCAPA collection and reporting hacks, specifically a demonstration of the incorrectness of the data underlying the statements issued to SCAPA and of those which are part of the calculation of the SCAPA results.

This article is the translated version of this one.

To begin with, I will deal with the results of last year, of which I have data related to the SCAPA collection in 2012:

1579,62 tonnes is the total quantity DECLARED as put on the market by the AIPROM members/participants in SCAPA.

– Plastic 1008,62 tonnes

– Paper 565,82 tonnes

– Metal 5,17 tonnes

It doesn’t exactly seem like a whole lot and it doesn’t feel like it has a significant impact, but let’s move further and see if it’s not, in fact, exactly the case.

775,52 tonnes is the total quantity collected by RIGK Romania through SCAPA, on behalf of the members of AIPROM/Participants in SCAPA

– Plastic: 624.68 tonnes (61.9% of total marketed)

– Paper: 150.84 tonnes (26.7% of total marketed)

– Metal: 0 kg (especially after the story herein) = 0%

Apart from the metal, it doesn’t exactly seem like a small percentage of plastic, the main material with a major impact. For example, EcoRom Ambalaje, the Romanian version of Grune Punkt, set as target for 2012 a recovery rate of 58%. In the same year, SCAPA reported 61.9% collected plastic.

 

The ‘Garbage in, Garbage out (GIGO)’ rule:

  1. Erroneous data from the members of AIPROM/SCAPA participants is consolidated in the calculation of the SCAPA results. Why is it then that I reached the conclusion that the members of AIPROM declare less packaging than is actually put on the market?

I start this calculation with a table made available to farmers and pesticide suppliers by AIPROM to assist with easier calculations of the waste quantities generated by the plant protection products.

Packaging type Material Product Quantity (kg/l) Average weight (kg)
Recipient

Recipient

Recipient

Recipient

canister

canister

canister

Glass

PE, PE/PA, HDPE, COEX

PE, PE/PA, HDPE, COEX

PE, PE/PA, HDPE, COEX

PE, PE/PA, HDPE, COEX

PE, PE/PA, HDPE, COEX

PE, PE/PA, HDPE, COEX

1.00

0.25

0.50

1.00

5.00

10.00

20.00

0.30

0.04

0.07

0.10

0.27

0.62

1.29

Bag

Bag

Bag

HDPE

HDPE

HDPE

0.2-0.3

0.60

1.50

0.09

0.12

0.20

Canister metal 5.00 0.45
Drum Plastic 200.00 15.50
Canister HD/COEX 20.00 2.00

 

Weight of pesticide packaging

From my experience and from that of my colleagues in the field, I noticed that the main driver of the SCAPA collection were the 1 litre packaging (0.1 kg / piece package), the 5-liter (0.27 kg) and the 20 litres (1.29 kg). These packages, depending on the treatment applied and on the size of the farm, offer both the farmer as well as the distributor, the optimum in terms of stock management, order handling and application of the product.

dscn5358

If we were to include in our calculation small packages, it would mean lower amounts of pesticide products available on the market, but much larger quantities of packaging and if we were to include in our calculation only 200 litre drums, with these amounts declared, we would have significantly more pesticides on the market. At the risk of sounding superficial, I shall approach all future calculations in a guarded manner, eliminating the extremes, allocating 45% of the total pesticide sales in packages of 1 litre, 30 % in packages of 5 litres and to 25% in packages of 20 litres.

The European Crop Protection Association proposes here an exercise in imagination speaking about treatment of 1 litre per hectare, diluted in 200 litres of water, speaking of state-of-the-art products with extraordinary performance parameters. In reality, depending on the type of product and its generation, the amounts of pesticides (and of packaging, implicitly,) are larger, and therefore increase the amount of packaging. But we pretend to forget this and only take into account the smallest possible amount, the 0.1kg of the packaging for 1 litre of pesticide, for a treatment with a state-of-the-art product applied on 1 hectare arable, exactly how ECPA says.

MADR publishes here the Romanian agricultural area: 14,615.1 hectares in 2012.

After we allocate areas for each type of package, in conformity with the agreed algorithm, and we divide it by the agricultural area, we will arrive at a total of 5,854,947 drums put on the market, calculated taking into account the above, i.e. 4.539k of 1l packages, 1.1206 of 5l packages and 195k of 20l packages respectively.

At the end, we arrive at the conclusion that we use in Romania, on average, 0.40 drums per hectare. Moreover, so we don’t upset anyone, we exaggeratedly consider that half of the agricultural surface is not used. We multiply 0,4 by 2.

That being said, according to the official statements issued by the members of AIPROM and MADR it would mean that the Romanian agriculture only uses 0.8 drums of pesticide per hectare.

We are moderate in our approach and take into consideration only the lightest of the packages, the one weighing 0.1kg, resulted from the 1litre package. Just so we can be cautious and modest.

We also pretend to forget that in horticulture and viticulture the consumption is 4-8-10 times greater than in the main crops. We should not lose sight of the fact that these products are also fungicides, insecticides, herbicides etc… and they don’t come wrapped in the same package, so it would mean 3 different packages for each treatment per hectare. We should also not forget that these treatments are not applied just one time only each year, but several times and these are not re-usable as packaging either.

And even with that, the statements from the members of AIPROM still hold water, even if we add 20% extra to the difference in the value of the market that the members of AIPROM declare at an allocated 80% of the market share. We arrive at a final result of 1 canister per hectare worked. If this canister would be the 1 litre one, it would mean 0.1 kg pesticide packaging per hectare and we exceed the statements issued by the members.

  1. We change the approach, taking into account the results from the real collection resulted from SCAPA and we extend the calculation hectare vs quantities packaged, for a couple of big farms, with generated quantities collected by SCAPA and with public surfaces declared in 2012.
the SCAPA waste generator farm Quantity collected in SCAPA 2012 (kg) hectare numbers per farm (ha) average kg packaging/ha
TCE Trei Brazi Braila 30040 55000 0,55
Interagro 12030 27000 0,45
AgroChirnogi 15840 10000 1,58
Agrogal 11170 5600 1,99
Agricom Borcea 5380 3000 1,79
Ceres 5418 1800 3,01

 

In the last column, the one recording the weight of pesticide packaging per hectare, a significant fluctuation can be noticed. In my opinion, this is not due to various technological recipes, but to the method in which the packaging is managed in farms and to what types of packaging, other than those from pesticides, have been taken over by SCAPA from the generators.

If we were to divide the data in the last column by the weight of 0.1 kg of a 1 litre package used in the calculation above as provided by AIPROM and imagined by ECPA contrary to reason and evidence, would result in a consumption per hectare ranging from 4.5 packages at Interagro to 30 packages per hectare in Ceres Mirosi. Let’s statistically eliminate the extremes in favour of AIPROM’s image.

We take as reference the arrowhead of the Romanian agriculture of 2012 and the crown jewel of the agricultural technology, the pilgrimage site of the crème-de-la-crème of Romanian agriculture and which, until it was revamped as AgriCost, was known as TCE Trei Brazi. Here, correct agricultural technologies are being applied and fairly accurate inventory of pesticide packages was maintained. The value of only 0.55 kilograms of pesticide packaging per hectare is 550% higher than the one resulting from the statements issued by the members of AIPROM, as discussed and highlighted at point 1, though it is far below the arithmetic mean resulting from the table, from other honourable farms and important clients of AIPROM. The amount of pesticide packaging resulting from the treatment of one hectare turns out to be higher at TCE than AIPROM would like us to believe. Again, on a detailed calculation, it is clear that something in SCAPA is wrong.

For things to be even more unclear, in 2012, SCAPA collected approximately 60% of the total packaging sent to market from a list of under 500 generators. How many farmers are there in Romania? If they collected similar quantities from the rest of the farmers in Romania, how many times would SCAPA exceed the annual plan?

All of these make me believe that the quantities of pesticide packages are significantly larger than the numbers declared by the AIPROM members.

I think this ambiguous situation between what members of AIPROM put on the market and what we actually collect, generate the main reasons AIPROM have which prevent them from communicating the data related to the quantities of packaging placed on the market in Romania, as well as the information on the quantities collected. I submit here the financial reasons which may generate this situation.

One important compromise, overlooked by the National Phytosanitary Authority, who does not provide any control, by the Environmental Fund, who has no controls in place, with the help of the Environmental Guard, who does not truly offer any control, with the aid of the accomplice RIGK Romania, who took over in 2008-2012 other packaging than those officially declared by SCAPA as collectible and who performed other illegal activities of which AIPROM is already aware. And it is very possible that this state of affairs will continue.

And I will continue to bring to light the secret formulas of managing the pesticide packaging in Romania.

7-greutati-ambalaje-ro

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