26 Jan 2017

Pastoral farmers lagging in recycling

1:12 pm on 26 January 2017

A recycling service for farmers is struggling to get pastoral farmers on board to safely dispose of plastic containers and chemicals.

Adrienne Wilcock

Adrienne Wilcock Photo: Supplied

Over 10 years Agrecovery has recycled 1.4 million kg of plastic containers and safely disposed of 100,000 kg of unwanted chemicals.

Agrecovery is funded by 65 brands that pay a levy.

Containers are made into underground cable and drums are cleaned for re-use.

Its chair, Adrienne Wilcock said it had been a challenge, but it was going well.

"There's no regualtion for farmers and growers to recycle their chemicals and contatiners so this is something that the industry has driven itself."

"Most of us still have dumps, and currently we collect about 30 percent of containers in the market, so we want to lift that. The pastoral sector is probably the one that is lagging behind.

She said horticulture had been the main driver behind recycling, and this was because of the global gap programme where growers were audited for some of their processes.

"I'm sure the pastoral sector will move into that field soon."

Ms Wilcock said there was a process behind getting farmers on board.

"It's reasoning around being good stewards of our land, and providing solutions that are simple and effective.

"For a lot of farmers those conversations are starting to happen and the reality is that you have to have a good simple solution in place and remove the barriers for farmers to do it."

Ms Wilcock said they want to move into other types of recycling and spread to more remote areas so that it is easier for farmers to recycle.

"I would hope we'd be well over 60 percent (of farm material recycled) in the next 10 years.

"The day is going to come when farmers will not be able to dump organic waste on farm. In order for councils to crack the whip and do that there has to be good solutions in place for farmers."

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