Agrecovery, the not-for-profit charitable trust that provides New Zealand farmers and growers with nationwide programmes for the disposal of unwanted agrichemicals, and the recycling of plastic containers, is celebrating 15 years of operation.

Back in 2005, both users and suppliers of agrichemicals recognised the need to provide stewardship for used agrichemical containers, culminating in the formation of the Agrecovery Foundation and the subsequent launch of the first container recycling programme in mid-2007.

Since its inception, Agrecovery have recycled nearly 3.5 million kg of plastic containers and over 165 thousand kg of expired or unwanted agrichemicals have been recovered from the rural environment. Results achieved by growing their footprint from a few small recycling locations to over 160 fixed sites nationwide.

“15 years is a considerable milestone for any organisation,” says Agrecovery Chief Executive Tony Wilson, “and a worthy occasion to not only look back and reflect on all that we have achieved, but also acknowledge our stakeholders who have travelled the journey with us.”

“We’re indebted to the collective efforts of our partners,” continues Tony. “The commitment and steadfast support from our brands, merchants, councils and industry organisations, along with that of New Zealand’s farmers and growers, ensures the continued success of our nationwide Product Stewardship Schemes and ability to clear more waste than ever before from New Zealand’s primary sector.”

Agrecovery’s 15-year anniversary was recently celebrated with a special evening at the Grand Hall, Parliament, hosted by Hon David Parker, Minister for the Environment. Other guest speakers included Hon Eugenie Sage, Green Party spokesperson for the Environment, and Gavin Kerr, President of Animal & Plant Health NZ.

Hon David Parker, Minister for the Environment, hosted Agrecovery’s 15-year celebrations at Parliament

Agrecovery is a valued partner as we design regulated product stewardship schemes to help reduce waste and protect our environment,” says Hon David Parker, Minister for the Environment. “I congratulate them on achieving their 15-year anniversary milestone.”

“It is rewarding to see the support for Agrecovery continue to grow,” says Tony. “We now over 100 brands signed up to our programmes with more joining every month. It’s great to see these brands take responsibility for their products and their packaging and ensure a free service for our 16,000-plus members.”

As Agrecovery celebrates its past, it is also looking to the future. With an average of 10 tonnes of waste produced per farm per year, there is a real and urgent need to offer more recycling solutions to farmers and growers for New Zealand’s environmental sustainability.

“Agrecovery is constantly investigating our ability to broaden the types of plastics that can be recycled through our programmes as well as developing the infrastructure for repurposing it,” says Tony.

“We have recently started a Product Stewardship Scheme for small seed, feed and fertiliser bags. This is an extremely complicated scheme given the myriad of products in the market and the types of plastics used. It will require significant commitment and expertise from everyone involved to make it successful.”

“We are driven by the conviction that there is a solution to every plastic waste stream, and our future focus will be on creating schemes that transform that waste back into valuable resources, while remaining efficient and effective for New Zealand’s primary producers.”