Hawke’s Bay farmers and growers are proving that they are good stewards of the land by bringing in massive quantities of plastic for recycling through the rural recycling programme, Agrecovery, this summer.

Since mid-December, the programme collected 12.5 tonnes of plastic from the region in just two and a half months.  “This is proof of the local rural community’s commitment to the environment,” says Agrecovery’s General Manager, Tony Wilson.

The plastic was collected from five Agrecovery sites in the region before going to the Bin Hire Hub in Hastings for processing. “Contractors were working through the day and night to shred the containers so that they could package and send them to our recycler in Auckland,” says Agrecovery Operations Advisor Felicity Mitchell.

Plastic is collated at the Hastings Bin Hire recycling hub

The Agrecovery truck collects the plastic

The Agrecovery truck collects the shredded plastic and brings it to Astron in Auckland for recycling.

Agrecovery collected 48.5 tonnes of plastic from the Hawke’s Bay last year, so this is already a quarter of that volume in just 11 weeks.  Last year’s total includes the plastic that Agrecovery collects from local farms and orchards, as well as the containers that are dropped off for recycling at Agrecovery sites – in Hastings (Farmlands, Fruitfed Supplies and Horticentre); as well as Farmlands Napier, Waipukurau Transfer Station, and the Wairoa Landfill.

The Hawke’s Bay region is hot on the heels of New Zealand’s largest rural recycling region – Canterbury, which last year collected almost 120 tonnes of plastic.

“We take our hats off to the Hawke’s Bay farmers and growers that have been making the most of our recycling programme,” says Wilson.  “We commend them for taking the time and effort to triple-rinse containers and bring them in for recycling.”

“Like most consumers, farmers and growers are left with plastic packaging that they don’t want to send to landfill or release emissions by burning it.  They are motivated to do the right thing – and the best thing is to turn it into a resource that doesn’t get wasted,” Wilson says.

Hawke’s Bay orchid manager, Stephanus Roode of Freshmax, uses the Agrecovery on-property collection service for containers and drums.

He says that the service is “really, really good”.

“The collection service is really fast and it’s a joy working with Agrecovery.

“The collection service is really fast and it’s a joy working with Agrecovery.

“I always get a quick response when I have a question too.”

As a grower, he sees recycling as “doing our bit for the environment” and participated in the Agrecovery trial for recycling the bags used for fertilisers and sulphurs that took place in the region late last year.

“We go through a lot of bags, so I hope we get to recycle more bags through the programme.”

“Supporting farmers to preserve the environment by providing alternatives to the harmful disposal practices of burning, burying and stock-piling of waste is vital for the future of New Zealand. Our role is to provide solutions for our farmers and growers in their role as kaitiakitanga – being good stewards of the land.

Agrecovery has high ambitions to clear more rural waste by partnering with industry groups, product stewardship schemes and councils around the country to make it easier for rural communities to recycle.