NovaChem > Industry News > 2020 > End of the road for rural recycling free-loaders

End of the road for rural recycling free-loaders

Published on 09/10/2020

Peak industry body Agcarm funds the rural recycling programme Agrecovery which offers farmers alternatives to the harmful disposal practices of burning, burying and stockpiling of waste. Agcarm’s involvement as Agrecovery founder and trustee demonstrates a long-standing commitment to better environmental outcomes, says chief executive Mark Ross. 

Associate Environment Minister Eugenie 
Sage has announced ground-breaking new rules requiring that all manufacturers of agrichemicals and farm plastics sold in New Zealand must be part of a recycling scheme. These products will become priority products under the Waste Minimisation Act, putting the onus on manufacturers to take responsibility for any plastic packaging and left over product. Other products include tyres, e-waste and refrigerants. “This is a win for rural recycling as it removes free-riders and levels the playing field for those who already participate in voluntary schemes – as Agcarm members do,” Mark Ross says. It will also make it easier for farmers and growers, who will be able to recycle all products, not just those from manufacturers who chose to offer free recycling and recovery services.

Agrecovery general manager Simon Andrew 
says the new rules send a strong message to those who refuse to take responsibility for their products. “It’s a bold move and one that will benefit our land and environment for decades to come.” The not-for-profit organisation works hard to provide streamlined processes for container and drum recycling, and sustainable agrichemical treatment and disposal – and the results are paying off. “We’ve seen huge uptakes in recycling in the last few years. We are now collecting close to half of all the agrichemical containers sold and are making them into useful new products right here in NZ. Collecting the other half is our top priority,” he says.“We have the systems in place to do it, we have the backing of industry to do it, and we look forward to making it happen.“Keeping a system that works for our rural communities, being responsive to their needs and removing barriers to recycling is vital.

responsiveness and efficiency plays a large part in our rising recycling rates. ”Agrecovery has overwhelming support from manufacturers who fund the programme and is eager to welcome all brands to participate. The change will eliminate confusion for farmers and growers over which products can be recycled for free. “This will be a huge bonus for our rural communities,” says Andrew. “Having some products which can be recycled and others that can’t has long been a hindrance to the farmers who want to do the right thing.”

The Agrecovery Foundation started in 2006, setting its sights to clear plastic agrichemical containers and drums from farms and orchards around the country. The agrichemical industry chose to fund the programme so its waste could be made into useful products here in NZ. The programme also sustainably disposes of unwanted agrichemicals. Over 70 manufacturers of crop protection products, veterinary medicines, dairy hygiene and liquid fertiliser products support Agrecovery through a voluntary levy.

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