Waikato farmers and growers set new agrichemical collection record

Agrecovery and the Waikato Regional Council collected a record six tonnes of hazardous horticultural, agricultural and veterinary chemicals from Waikato during a regional collection that finished last week.

That’s five times the amount collected in the Waikato in 2012 and the largest take back on record for the region since Agrecovery started collecting in 2010.

The increase was largely due to the support provided by the Waikato Regional Council and three of the region’s district councils—Waipa District Council, Hauraki District Council and Otorohanga District Council—that funded the recovery of chemicals that usually fall into the user-pays category.

In addition, a change in how funding from the Waste Minimisation Fund can be applied meant that the cost of collection and disposal was covered for ‘legacy’ chemicals (either expired or unknown chemicals).

Michelle Begbie, Scientist: Contaminated Land and Wastes, Waikato Regional Council says, “We were pleased to see so many farmers and growers choosing to dispose of their chemicals safely through Agrecovery this year. Together we’ve collected six tonnes of hazardous chemicals that might have otherwise been left in sheds, posing an increased safety risk, or eventually ending up in our waterways or on our land.

“Reducing the costs of dealing with waste to users is critical to ensure greater participation. But, as the saying goes, there is no such thing as a free lunch—it’s expensive to collect, transport and dispose of these chemicals safely. We hope to see more manufacturers and consumers supporting Agrecovery in the future so that the cost of disposing of this hazardous waste lies with those who benefit most from their use,” says Michelle.

Graeme Peters, Agrecovery Foundation Chairman says, “We’re pleased the councils were able to support this year’s collection and help make it the most successful we’ve seen. As well as helping to reduce user costs, they extended the event’s reach by promoting it through their networks. We were also able to use five transfer stations as drop-off points this year, which saved on on-farm collection costs and meant we could collect more chemicals at no charge to the farmer or at greatly reduced rates.”

Anyone with horticultural, agricultural and veterinary chemicals can log their unwanted and expired chemicals for the next collection with Agrecovery here or by phoning 0800 247 326 to request a booking form. Collections are demand based, but are generally held in most regions of New Zealand every 12 to 24 months.

Further information about Agrecovery and the Chemical Recovery programme

  • The Agrecovery Chemicals programme held its first collection in 2010 to remove harmful agrichemicals from properties all around the country. It helps New Zealand meet its international obligations under the Stockholm Convention for disposal of persistent organic pollutants.
  • All chemicals collected by Agrecovery are handled by specialist contractors and follow industry best-practice disposal methods. Chemicals that are unable to be disposed of within New Zealand are transferred offshore, where they are burnt at extremely high temperatures, leaving behind no trace of the chemicals.
  • The Agrecovery Chemicals programme has received funding from the Waste Minimisation Fund. The funding is administered by the Ministry for the Environment.
  • The Agrecovery Chemicals programme is easy to use, safe and fully compliant, offering a fully auditable record of disposal which farmers and growers can use for quality assurance programmes, such as NZGAP.
  • The Agrecovery Foundation is a not-for-profit charitable trust that was established in 2005. It was put together by primary sector stakeholders to resolve ‘on-farm’ waste issues and promote the aims of product stewardship and environmentally sound waste management practices in the primary sector.
  • Agrecovery is a model product stewardship programme supported by a large number of brand owners and primary industry stakeholders.
  • The Foundation that governs Agrecovery has trustees who represent Federated Farmers, Horticulture New Zealand, Agcarm, DairyNZ, Rural Contractors New Zealand and Waikato Regional Council for local government.
  • The Agrecovery programme is managed on behalf of the Foundation by their programme managers 3R Group Ltd.