Rural recycling programme – Agrecovery demonstrates how industry and government can work together to reduce plastic waste and clear unwanted agrichemicals from our environment. At an industry event with Conservation and Associate Environment Minister, Eugenie Sage, the programme explains its success in clearing more waste from New Zealand farms.

Agrecovery has diverted over 2,000 tonnes of plastic from landfill or from harmful disposal practices like burning.  As the programme gains force, recovery rates rise – with a 40 percent increase in the amount of plastic collected in the last year alone.

The not-for-profit’s sole focus is enabling New Zealand’s rural communities to have access to convenient recycling for repurposing plastic waste as well as the recovery of unwanted agrichemicals.

“We’re not making a profit for a shareholder, we’re purely focused on product stewardship and enhancing rural waste outcomes,” says the programme’s general manager, Simon Andrew.

“At the end of the day, our goal is to protect the environment and provide a solution for our farming communities,” he adds.

The initiative is run for industry, by industry and is accredited by the government as a product stewardship scheme. It is represented by stakeholders in the farming, horticulture and agrichemical industries – for the benefit of our farmers and growers.

It’s funded by a levy which manufacturer’s pay on their products to ensure that the recycling and recovery of them is free for those who purchase them.  The national programme has close to 80 sites where farmers and growers can drop off empty containers and drums. Agrecovery also collects and disposes of unwanted chemicals.

“We are fortunate to have the support of a significant percentage of manufacturers who are willing to set aside funding so that we can recover and recycle its plastic waste.  It’s something we’d like to see across other industries as well.”

Agrecovery is also implementing trial events based on the findings of the New Zealand Rural Waste Minimisation Project – which develops solutions for disposing of farm waste and encourages long-term behaviour change.