Avoiding accidents with agrichemicals is high on the agenda with a new drum recovery programme launched by Agrecovery Rural Recycling.

The Agrecovery Drum programme offers farmers and growers around the country free on property collection for plastic or steel drums from 61 – 1000 litres in size. Drums must be empty and triple rinsed.

The programme follows international best practice ensuring that drums are returned to the manufacturer or reconditioned through an approved contractor. Those that have reached the end of their useful life will be appropriately recycled; a process certified by Agrecovery’s recycling partners.

Duncan Scotland, Sales and Marketing Manager for the Agrecovery programme, says “There is a real cottage industry in New Zealand with drums collected by “drum runners”. These are then frequently sold to members of the public for a wide variety of uses.

“Those buying and selling the drums often have no idea what was originally in the drum and they can end up using an agrichemical drum inappropriately, for example as storage for horse feed or water troughs for animals.

“It’s also possible that someone could get a chemical burn from unknown residue in a drum.”

The new Drum programme complements the current Agrecovery Container scheme which recycles triple rinsed 1 – 60 litre plastic agrichemical containers into a safe end use such as underground electrical cable covers.

Currently seven manufacturers of agrichemicals, fertilisers and dairy hygiene products financially support the new Drum programme, with more expected to join shortly. This support enables drums from these manufacturers to be collected free on-property.

According to Chairman of Beef and Lamb NZ, Mike Petersen, New Zealand sheep and beef farmers recognise environmental sustainability is critical.

“However there is a balance that must be found so that the sector remains economically viable,” he says.

“Manufacturers that contribute to Agrecovery make recycling easy and economical for farmers.”

Duncan Scotland says such a strong buy in from manufacturers shows that there is real appetite in the primary sector to support international best practice product stewardship programmes like Agrecovery.

“Taking responsibility for products right through the life cycle includes providing a safe and fully compliant disposal solution and then finding a suitable end use – that’s true stewardship.”

Donaghys is the first dairy hygiene manufacturer to join the Agrecovery Drum programme, allowing their drums to be collected for free direct from their customers’ properties.

Jeremy Silva, Managing Director of Donaghys and a farmer himself, believes product stewardship is simply good business. The company now supports four of Agrecovery’s recycling and recovery programmes:

“Providing our customers with safe responsible recycling solutions is just part of what sets Donaghys apart from our competition. Customers use Agrecovery to recycle our containers; dispose of unwanted chemicals; recycle our silage wrap; and now they can have our 200L drums & IBC’s collected!”

The Agrecovery Drum programme complements the nationwide agrichemical container, silage wrap and crop protection net recycling and unwanted chemical disposal programmes also run by Agrecovery.

Agrecovery’s chemical and container programmes are accredited as voluntary product stewardship programmes by the Minister for the Environment under the Waste Minimisation Act.

Click here for the latest list of brand owners for the Agrecovery Drums programme