The Agrecovery project allows farmers and growers to recycle a variety of plastics at drop off stations

Recycling helps farmers

by Ann van Engelen

Each week, thousands of kiwi homes wheel or carry their rubbish to the kerbside for collection. For rural communities, managing refuse is not such an easy task. Generations of Kiwi farmers have had to find their own ways of clearing non-natural waste.

A 2013 study by Environment Canterbury claimed that farms were producing nearly 10 tonnes of waste a year. Empty containers and drums, silage wrap, fertiliser bags and motor oil are just some of the items left over from the business of farming. Finding an efficient and sustainable solution can be confusing and time-consuming for farmers and growers, especially with each waste stream having its own processes for recycling or safe disposal. To add to the challenge, the options aren’t always obvious, conveniently located or available to use at all times — and can be costly.

Rural recycling programme, Agrecovery, is stepping in to help solve these challenges. The programme, which recycles agrichemical containers and drums and sustainably disposes of unwanted agrichemicals, has been trialling a project that allows farmers and growers to drop off a variety of waste at one location.

Last year Agrecovery initiated two highly successful pilot projects in Matamata and Geraldine, collecting more than 19 tonnes of waste in just two days. The Ministry for the Environment is boosting the project by funding more nationwide events to be held in late August and September so that farmers and growers can clear a variety of waste all at the same time.

These will be in Westport, Southland, Rolleston, Gisborne as well as Matamata and Geraldine.