Friday, 09 March 2018 09:55

Rural recycling a no-brainer

Written by  Simon Andrew
Around 3000 tonnes of plastic waste are removed off farm each year through the AgRecovery programme. Around 3000 tonnes of plastic waste are removed off farm each year through the AgRecovery programme.

Waste plastic – enough to bury a rugby field 2m deep. That’s how much stuff the rural recycler AgRecovery says it handles each year, weighing at least 300 tonnes.

Why bother? Because plastic farm chemical, animal health or dairy hygiene containers, if buried, take 700 years to degrade or burning them wreaks havoc on our environment, so it makes sense to recycle empties. 

About 11,000 farmers and growers use this free service for containers from participating brand owners.  They drop off empties at 80 locations nationwide. Or by arrangement we can collect high volumes, or three or more large plastic drums. 

Agrecovery has diverted over 2000t of plastic, which gets made into underground cable cover. 

It’s a sustainable, 100% solution; we don’t ship it elsewhere for recycling, so there is minimal impact on the environment.

Our company also offers safe disposal of unwanted or expired agrichemicals and has collected at least 100t so far.   We make sure old chemicals are disposed of correctly. 

Agrecovery shows how manufacturers, industry, government and consumers can work together to reduce the harm of plastic waste. Our operation grows each year – we recycled 40% more plastic in the last 12 months.

It is accredited by the Ministry for the Environment as a product stewardship initiative and is supported by seven primary industry trustee organisations that govern the programme. It is made possible by 60 participating agrichemical makers voluntarily paying a levy on all the products they sell so that farmers and growers can use this service free. 

And retailers Farmlands, Farmsource, Rural Co and PGG Wrightson volunteer time and space to help collect empty containers. 

But more needs to be done. Agrecovery is also looking into collecting other waste such as fertiliser packaging.

• Simon Andrew is general manager of Agrecovery.


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