Following the success of a similar promotion in 2012, New Zealand’s leading rural recycling programme is again offering $5000 worth of rewards to encourage more farmers and growers to get recycling.

The Agrecovery container programme provides free recycling for empty, triple rinsed containers, sized 60 litres and under, from 59 supporting brand owners. Containers are shredded and recycled in New Zealand into a compliant end-use; a far better outcome than burning or burying on farm.

While the programme is already well utilised by thousands of farmers and growers, Duncan Scotland of Agrecovery suggests that the chance to win one of ten $500 vouchers may be just the nudge that others require to get started with Agrecovery, especially in the pastoral sector which has not seen the same uptake as in horticulture and viticulture.

“Last year’s promotion saw a substantial increase in the volume of container plastic collected during the two month initiative, as well as an increase in the number of new members and people visiting the Agrecovery website to find out more about the programmes on offer. It was a huge success.”

The slower uptake of recycling in the pastoral sector has recently led both Federated Farmers and Beef + Lamb New Zealand to call for those in their sectors to adopt greener, more sustainable methods of disposal of their used plastics by using the Agrecovery programme.

“Environmental stewardship is critical. Recycling is the one way we can turn a perceived environmental negative into a big positive,” said Connor English, Federated Farmers Chief Executive.

“Federated Farmers enhanced involvement with Agrecovery continues a strong record of environmental leadership and supports our strategic plan which seeks profitable sustainable farming.

“It is a big challenge but the work the Agrecovery Trust does provides a practical solution for farmers to improve their environmental stewardship which Federated Farmers strongly supports.”

According to Agrecovery an abundance of available land and the distance required to travel to dedicated landfills has meant the convenience of burning or burying has been the traditional method of waste disposal for the majority of farmers.

Burial pits and burning piles are commonplace on many farms with all manner of waste materials, both household and farm related, included in the mix. However studies show there is clear evidence of the health risks and negative environmental impacts of this habitual behaviour, specifically in relation to waste plastics.

But it’s not only the environmental impact that farmers and growers need to be considering.

Beef + Lamb General Manager Farm, Richard Wakelin says our clean-green image and reputation is at stake every day. He says the goalposts are continually shifting, with consumers increasingly concerned about animal welfare and how goods are produced.

“Keeping the farm tidy and operating to its full potential includes careful and considered disposal of contaminated materials and hazardous substances.

“Simply put this is good management practice to support sustainable farms for future generations and it can also contribute to positive market drivers.”

To take advantage of the Agrecovery promotion, simply take eligible containers to any of the 70 plus Agrecovery collection sites nationwide during February and March 2013.

The promotion is open to new and existing members in all rural sectors and the turf industry.

The Agrecovery Container recycling programme is funded by 59 of New Zealand’s leading manufacturers and distributors of agrichemicals, fertilisers, dairy hygiene, animal health and biological products. Empty triple rinsed plastic containers (60 litres and under in size) from these companies are eligible for free recycling.