We are excited to share the latest Agrecovery updates and developments, including important information about:

  • The growth and challenges of the HDPE (containers and drums) scheme
  • Insights into the Small Bags Product Stewardship Scheme
  • Progress on the Animal Health Product Stewardship Scheme
  • Update on the Household Pest and Weeds initiative
  • Outcomes from the Southland Pilot
  • New schemes in development
  • Overview of the significance of Product Stewardship Schemes.

HDPE Scheme Progress

The HDPE scheme has shown remarkable growth, particularly in the collection of large drums, which have seen a 61% increase in volume over the past year. This surge has challenged our fixed collection services, as each drum requires on-farm collection – a process that is both costly and time-consuming. To address this demand, we are implementing some changes to improve efficiency and convenience:

On-farm collections will now require a minimum of 10 drums.

New drop-off locations are being introduced across various regions to facilitate easier disposal.

It’s important to note that drums are complicated as their is no simple process for reducing their size at collection and our equipment is unable to shred the thicker plastic.

Despite these challenges, the demand for recycled HDPE remains strong, showcasing the importance and wide-reaching impact of this scheme.

Small Bags Scheme Insights

Agrecovery is proud to announce remarkable progress in our Small Bags Programme, an initiative dedicated to recycling and managing the disposal of small woven PP and LDPE bags. Here are some key highlights of our achievements and ongoing efforts:

  • Growing Participation: The programme now boasts over 35 brands registered, demonstrating the agricultural sector’s commitment to sustainability.
  • Engaged Community: A total of 1,163 farmers and growers have embraced the Small Bags Programme, actively contributing to our recycling efforts.
  • Impressive Distribution and Return Rates: Since July 1st, we’ve distributed over 7,500 liners to participants for the collection of these bags. Encouragingly, more than 1,300 liners have been returned, filled with bags ready for recycling.
  • Challenges with Woven PP Bags: The small woven PP bags, often used in the agricultural sector, present significant recycling challenges due to their low-quality plastic composition. Currently, New Zealand lacks the technology and infrastructure to recycle these bags efficiently. However, Agrecovery is proactively working with recyclers and manufacturers to explore improvements in packaging design. Our goal is to ensure these bags not only protect their contents but are also recyclable at the end of their lifespan, contributing to a circular economy.
  • Success with LDPE Bags: In contrast, LDPE bags are of a much higher quality, making them more desirable for recycling. There’s a strong market for recycled LDPE plastic, with numerous buyers recognising its value. This highlights the importance of selecting suitable materials for product packaging that align with sustainability goals.

Through the Small Bags Programme, Agrecovery continues to lead by example, showing how collaboration and innovation can address the challenges of plastic waste in agriculture. We are committed to finding solutions that not only benefit our environment but also support our farmers and growers in their sustainable practices.

Animal Health Product Stewardship Scheme

Our journey towards establishing a stewardship scheme for Animal Health products is progressing, albeit more slowly over the summer. We are currently fine-tuning the process flow for plastics involved in this scheme and plan to present our findings for consultation in the coming months.

A key focus is ensuring the safe recycling of these materials, preventing contamination in the recycling stream. Given the dangerous nature of some of the packaging that is out in the market, it is highly likely that all plastic will go through a secondary sorting process, before being directed to the most appropriate recycler. The secondary sorting will break down the plastic into singular polymer types which is a must for recyclers. Agrecovery must ensure we get complete safety certainty in handling these plastics before progressing.

To date, Agrecovery has developed how vaccine packs, cow collars and other multiple plastic packaging can be deconstructed and sent for recycling locally. We have learnt a lot by working with different parts of the supply chain and this has provided valuable lessons that will benefit the scheme’s future implementation.

Household Pest and Weeds Initiative

In collaboration with industry stakeholders, Agrecovery has submitted a proposal to the Ministry for the Environment for the collection of plastic household pest and weed containers, with public consultation anticipated in the near future.

Research has shown that urban consumers are unlikely to triple rinse the containers so we have had to develop a process to manage contaminated plastic with residual chemicals in them. This initiative underscores our commitment to addressing the environmental impact of these products.

Southland Pilot: A Success Story

The Southland Pilot is a collaboration between Ministry for the Environment, Farmlands, Farm Source, PGG Wrightsons and Agrecovery to build a collection model for the Farm Plastics Product Stewardship Scheme.

By testing different systems, this initiative has been instrumental in understanding the needs of our farming and growing community in order to deliver their plastics for recycling. In July and August last year, the first pilot was successfully run in Southland, which included a free drop off service for farmers. The pilot was extremely successful with over 600T of bale and silage wrap collected alongside other farms plastics.

The lessons learned are invaluable as we prepare for the next phase of the pilot later this year. We extend our heartfelt thanks to all participants for their contribution and support.

New Schemes in Development

In our ongoing efforts to expand Agrecovery’s recycling initiatives and tackle more diverse waste streams, we’ve embarked on the development of several new and exciting schemes. Each of these ventures brings its own challenges and opportunities for innovation in recycling practices:

Rubberware Recycling: Rubberware presents a unique recycling challenge due to its material properties. Nonetheless, we’ve identified a potential end market that requires the rubberware to be in a specific format. Our team is diligently working on solutions for processing rubberware to meet the recycler’s needs.

Wool Fadges: Our team has been focusing on the end-of-life cycle for wool fadges, a task that has proven to be complex due to the difficulty in shredding and cleaning this material for recycling. However, we’ve made a breakthrough by partnering with a local recycler capable of transforming wool fadges into HDPE pellets. Our next steps involve collaborating with the industry on efficient collection and delivery methods for these fadges, paving the way for a sustainable solution to wool fadge waste.

Kiwifruit Industry Collaboration In an exciting development, Agrecovery has been approached by several kiwifruit companies seeking sustainable disposal solutions for their plastic waste. We’ve successfully identified recycling solutions for various types of plastics associated with the kiwifruit industry and are eager to expand our recycling capabilities in this area. If you’re part of the kiwifruit sector and interested in learning more about these recycling opportunities, we encourage you to reach out to us.

Understanding Product Stewardship Schemes (PSS)

Product Stewardship Schemes are at the heart of our mission, aiming to offer farmers and growers recycling options across New Zealand that transcend the need for profit and focus instead on measuring the amount of plastic collected for recycling.

Internationally recognised standards guide our efforts, ensuring transparency and affirming the value of recycled materials. Our collective success in these schemes contributes significantly to New Zealand’s sustainability goals.