Agrecovery’s new General Manager, Tony Wilson, wants all farm waste recycled, reused, or repurposed in his quest to build upon the legacy that his predecessor, Simon Andrew, left behind.

“First and foremost, I want to follow the trajectory that the not-for-profit recycling scheme has already achieved,” he says, adding that he’s “not here to reinvent the wheel, but we will utilise our local and global networks to make our programme an even better one”.

“I’m proud to be leading New Zealand’s peak rural recycling scheme for agrichemical containers and drums.  As one of the rural sector’s first voluntary recycling initiatives, it will soon be one of the first regulated product stewardship schemes in the rural sector,” says Wilson.

“I want to continue to grow recovery rates”, which got to 50% pre-Covid.

“This is a great result, but we can’t rest on our laurels. We won’t stop till we get to 100%”.  We also want to see other projects get off the ground and be supported by industry and government to recycle and recover more on-farm waste.

Product manufacturers initiated Agrecovery in 2006 to recycle and find new uses for agrichemical product packaging voluntarily. The programme recycles agrichemical containers, drums and IBCs, and safely disposes of agrichemicals. It has expanded its focus to lead sustainable farm waste management and has initiated several projects over the past few years.

“I want all farm waste recycled, whether that’s the HDPE plastic that we already recycle, or whether it’s netting, twine and seed, feed and fertiliser bags, or wrap.  Burning these on farms, leaving them for someone else, throwing them in landfill, or even worse – having them end up in our waterways – is just not acceptable.  Seeing this change is what I want to achieve in my time at Agrecovery,“ says Wilson.

Ideally, we would like to see a local recycling plant purpose-built in New Zealand to deal with waste that can’t be composted or reused. Research figures suggest that this is estimated to be as high 10 tonnes per farm per year.

Agrecovery is working with the Ministry for the Environment and global partners on projects to find the most sustainable solutions for rural waste, to divert more farm plastics away from harmful disposal practices.