Brownriggs Guy Hamilton APPROVED PHOTOLeading New Zealand agribusiness Brownrigg Agriculture has a reputation for innovation with a proven willingness to test and adopt new practices that enhance product quality.

Its latest initiative to ensure continued long-term sustainability has been to support the Agrecovery rural recycling programme.

Established in 1989 by brothers David and Jonathan Brownrigg, the business includes 12 farms comprising over 10,000 hectares across the Hawke’s Bay region, from Whakaki (north of Wairoa) to Waipawa, and in the Manawatu.

Its operations span a range of livestock and cropping enterprises, particularly squash and grain, and there is a strong focus on environmental sustainability, transparency and traceability across its product range.

Agronomist Guy Hamilton says this philosophy meant it was a natural progression to use Agrecovery to deal with the disposal of all agrichemical and animal health containers used within the business.

‘Brownrigg Agriculture had discussed waste disposal options for at least a year before starting with the Agrecovery programme in November 2008, as the volume of empty containers had made this a big issue,’ says Guy. Now all their staff, growers and agricultural contractors, such as sprayers, follow company policy and recycle used containers through Agrecovery.

‘We have an on-farm collection site in the Poukawa Valley. Our farm managers and contractors take containers there, we thoroughly look them over to ensure they meet the triple-rinse requirements, and then call Agrecovery to collect.’

Toni Bye from 3R Group, Agrecovery programme managers, says that large scale growers and farmers like Brownrigg Agriculture can take advantage of Agrecovery by having a direct collection when the Agrecovery truck has capacity to service extra sites, and when the service schedule can accommodate their requirements.

Guy says the Agrecovery shredding truck made its first visit in January 2009, and picked up just over 2000 containers, ranging in size from one to 20 litres. Another 4000 or so containers have since been collected.

‘Everyone in the company has bought into this idea and we would like to see more companies come on board with the Agrecovery programme,’ says Guy.

‘Environmental awareness and sustainable practices are becoming increasingly important across world markets. We feel pretty strongly about this and, if for no other reason than to promote New Zealand’s clean green image, we can’t afford to have a ‘she’ll be right’ attitude,’ says Guy.

‘For future generations, we need to leave them something they can work with and if we can pass on the land in good shape by recycling, then all the better.’