An edible plastic wrapping for animal feed aims to reduce the environmental impact of farming.
Every year an estimated 8 billion bales of animal feed such as silage, hay and straw are used worldwide, often wrapped in metres of plastic to protect it from the elements.
It's a handy way to store excess feed, and then feed it out to stock throughout the year. But animals sometimes eat the plastic wrapping and injure themselves, and removing the wrap is a hassle for farmers. Then it all has to be disposed of which is costly, and as lots of it ends up in landfill it's also bad for the environment.
So three British chemists with a background in farming have come up with an edible hay bale wrapping that's attracting interest from all over the world, including from here in New Zealand. This Way Up's Simon Morton speaks to one of the inventors, Nick Aristidou of Bionet.
"Working on a farm myself I've experienced firsthand the hassle of unwrapping hay bales. The plastic is difficult to remove and costly to dispose of. We estimate that wrapping them in our product could save a farmer with a 100-cow herd 1,080 hours typically spent unwrapping the bales" - Will Joyce.