Westland Milk Products Environmental and On Farm Services Team (from right to left) Wayne Climo, Sarah Morgan, Rob Pieper, Chris Pullen

Agrecovery Rural Recycling and Westland Milk Products are working together to achieve the co-operative’s aim of ensuring the West Coast leads the New Zealand dairy industry in sustainable rural recycling initiatives.

Chris Pullen, Environmental Manager for Westland Milk Products says “We want to ensure that the West Coast dairy industry is highly regarded for its contribution to environmental sustainability.

“With Agrecovery’s help we can promote international best practice and protect New Zealand’s reputation for sustainable agribusiness practice right here on the West Coast.”

This push to help meet rising on-farm environmental standards is not just limited to the suppliers of the Hokitika-based milk co-operative.

Westland Milk Products aims to implement industry best practice in relation to the correct storage, handling and sustainable disposal of waste products, both on the farms of the more than 330 shareholders who supply the plant, and also in the factory environment.

This objective is part of a wider Westland Milk Products project to maintain ISO 14001 certification at the Hokitika site, promote sustainable practices to all Westland staff and farmer suppliers, and meet the environmental expectations of international customers.

“The dairy industry is under constant surveillance from a variety of sectors with vested interests in the environmental impacts produced by increasingly intensive farming practices,” says Chris.

“Part of these standards relate to suitable disposal of plastic and other waste products.

“The specific requirements of Westland Milk Products and the remoteness of the West Coast bring unique challenges to provision of typical recovery and recycling services, so we chose to work with Agrecovery because of their willingness to tailor make a sustainability programme for our factory and our farms.

“They have made their recovery and recycling services as accessible as possible to farmers on the West Coast.”

The Agrecovery Rural Recycling is a not-for-profit charitable trust, formed with the sole purpose of helping New Zealand’s farmers and growers with sustainable recycling solutions for persistent on-farm waste.

Agrecovery currently runs five programmes for the recycling and recovery of agrichemical, animal health and dairy hygiene containers and drums, silage wrap and crop protection net, and for unwanted or expired agrichemicals.

The programmes are audited to ISO 140001 Environmental Standard, ensuring a sustainable best-practice disposal solution for all collected materials. Both the container recycling and chemical recovery programmes are also MfE accredited Product Stewardship schemes under the Waste Minimisation Act 2008.

This high level of compliance and best practice was a critical factor for Westland Milk Products when choosing to work with Agrecovery. Another was Agrecovery’s ability to provide all programme users with proof of their recycling activity.

“Adoption of Agrecovery’s ISO 14001 accredited programmes ensures we lead the NZ dairy industry in sustainable rural recycling initiatives, and gives a visible platform to promote that positioning in the marketplace.

“As well as the obvious environmental benefits of the recycling programme, the reporting aspects are also critical evidence required to maintain and improve New Zealand’s access to international markets, and our ability to command premium prices in relation to competitors.”

For more information about Agrecovery Rural Recycling visit www.agrecovery.co.nz or freephone 0800 247 326.