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Reducing unwanted agrichemical stocks

August 23, 2011

Chemicals, unable to be disposed of within New Zealand, are transferred offshore for safe disposal.

The collection of unwanted agrichemicals this year is set to be stronger than 2010′s record of nearly 10 tonnes collected through the nationwide Agrecovery Chemicals Programme.

Otago topped the seven regional collections in 2010 with 1921 kilograms collected.

According to Debbie Sherwood, coordinator for the Agrecovery Chemicals programme, booking volumes have been equally strong in 2011, showing chemicals are still a problem on many properties.

“We have completed three collections so far this year, with a record 2060 kg collected in Canterbury. Four other regional collections are in the planning stages, including the Otago/Southland collection where bookings close on 2nd September.”

According to Debbie unwanted or expired chemicals pose a difficult disposal problem for many farmers and growers, particularly following succession or property sale where details of chemicals can be lost.

“Agrecovery provides a safe and simple disposal solution, with some products eligible for free collection and disposal, thanks in part to the levies voluntarily paid by the agrichemical companies who support the programme,” says Debbie.

The Chemicals programme is a model product stewardship programme with funding from a mixture of brand owner support, government funding and user pays charges.

One of Agrecovery’s 57 supporting brand owners is Donaghys, a manufacturer and distributor of a wide range of products in the rural sector, including agrichemicals. The company’s financial contribution to Agrecovery not only enables customers to recycle Donaghys’ plastic agrichemical containers for free, but also means many customers’ unwanted or expired agrichemicals can be collected and disposed of free of charge.

Jeremy Silva, Managing Director of Donaghys and a farmer himself, sees Agrecovery as part of their competitive advantage, with Donaghys supporting not one but four of Agrecovery’s recovery and recycling programmes.

“Providing our customers with responsible recycling solutions is just part of what sets Donaghys apart from our competition. Customers use Agrecovery to recycle our containers; dispose of unwanted chemicals; have our 200L drums & IBC’s collected and recycle our silage wrap!”

“Product Stewardship is simply good business.”

The Agrecovery Chemicals programme was set up to remove harmful agrichemicals from properties all around the country and helps New Zealand meet its international obligations under the Stockholm Convention (for disposal of persistent organic pollutants).

All chemicals collected by the Agrecovery programme are handled by specialist contractors and follow industry best-practice disposal methods. Chemicals that are unable to be disposed of within New Zealand by Transpacific Technical Services are transferred offshore by Tredi New Zealand Ltd, international specialists in hazardous waste management and disposal.

To date 3852kg of chemicals from Agrecovery collections have been sent for disposal offshore, with more expected to leave late 2011. Chemicals sent offshore for disposal are burnt in a high temperature incinerator, leaving behind no trace chemicals.

The Agrecovery Chemicals programme, launched in July 2009, is available for all primary sector users of horticultural and agrichemicals, including farmers, growers, contractors, veterinary clinics, golf courses and others. It is easy to use, safe and fully compliant, offering a fully auditable record of disposal which farmers and growers can use for NZGAP and other quality assurance programmes.

Anyone wanting to dispose of unwanted agrichemicals needs to book with Agrecovery. Bookings can be made online at www.agrecovery.co.nz or by ringing Agrecovery for a booking form on freephone 0800 247 326.

The Agrecovery Chemicals programme complements the nationwide agrichemical container, silage wrap and crop protection net recycling programmes also run by Agrecovery.

Agrecovery’s chemical and container programmes are accredited as voluntary product stewardship programmes by the Minister for the Environment under the Waste Minimisation Act.