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A nationwide programme to recycle agricultural plastics and dispose of agrichemicals has had its status as a ‘product stewardship scheme’ extended by the Government, Associate Environment Minister Scott Simpson announced today

Mr Simpson met with representatives of Agrecovery to formally reaccredit them for another seven years as a product stewardship scheme under the Waste Minimisation Act.

Agrecovery collects unwanted chemical drums and containers from agricultural brand owners throughout New Zealand. The scheme is widely supported by farmers, growers, local government and agrichemical and dairy hygiene companies.

Drums are collected by contractors and reprocessed into new plastic products, such as covers for underground cables. This provides an alternative to sending drums and containers to landfill, or burning or burying them on farm.

“By providing an alternative to disposing of waste on farm, Agrecovery is preventing harmful environmental impacts associated with farm burning and burial, such as the leaching of chemicals into waterways and the escape of hazardous dioxins into the atmosphere,” Mr Simpson says.

“Agrecovery also collects and appropriately disposes of unwanted agrichemicals, some of which could cause significant harm to ecosystems were they to enter the food chain. In this way, the scheme also helps New Zealand meet its international environmental obligations on reducing and, where feasible, ultimately eliminating the release of dioxins.”

In 2010, Agrecovery was accredited by Minister for the Environment Dr Nick Smith as a product stewardship scheme under the Waste Minimisation Act 2008. This means that Agrecovery has been recognised for its work in promoting waste minimisation and reducing environmental harms from disposing of waste.

Product stewardship describes the process by which producers and suppliers of products take responsibility for their products throughout their entire lifecycle, such as by reusing and recycling products.

“Agrecovery has been achieving very pleasing results in recycling plastic and disposing of harmful agrichemicals. The scheme has recovered large volumes of unwanted products and it has built up strong partnerships within the agricultural industry. We can anticipate good results from Agrecovery going forwards.”

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