Proposed new waste regulations welcomed by rural recycling campaigners

Proposed new regulations to deal with waste have been welcomed by a rural recycling programme, which says it would mean all businesses would play their part.

Under the proposal, announced by Green MP and Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage, companies would be forced to take responsibility for their products' life-cycle.

It would also establish a regulated stewardship scheme for some "priority products", including agrichemical containers and farm plastics.

Agrecovery, which runs such a scheme voluntarily, said it commended the Government for aiming to ensure that all product manufacturers participate in recycling and repurposing end-of-life product packaging.

Agrecovery's General Manager Simon Andrew said it would be a shot in the arm for rural recycling.

The Agrecovery Foundation aims to clear plastic agrichemical containers and drums from farms and orchards around the country.
The Agrecovery Foundation aims to clear plastic agrichemical containers and drums from farms and orchards around the country. Photo credit: Supplied

"We have support from the manufacturers who fund our programmes and would love to see all brands participate," he said. 

"Removing free-riders will level the playing field and allow all products to be recycled," said Andrew.

It would also remove the confusion for farmers and growers on which products can be recycled for free. 

"This would be a huge bonus for our rural communities.".

He said the not-for-profit organisation worked hard to ensure that there were streamlined processes for container recycling and sustainable agrichemical disposal - and the results have been paying off.

"We've seen huge uptakes in recycling in the last few years. In the past year, 436 tonnes of plastic was recycled through our programme and made into useful materials for New Zealanders."

"This is a stellar result, with an increase in recycling rates of over 40 percent on the year before, and almost double the figures of three years ago."

Andrew said maintaining a system that worked for rural communities, was responsive to their needs and removed barriers to recycling was vital. 

"This responsiveness and efficiency plays a large part in lifting recycling rates."

The Agrecovery Foundation started in 2006, setting its sights to clear plastic agrichemical containers and drums from farms and orchards around the country. 

The agrichemical industry chose to fund the programme to take responsibility for its packaging and make it into useful products for New Zealanders. 

The programme also sustainably disposes of unwanted agrichemicals.

Since its inception, Agrecovery has diverted over 3000 tonnes of packaging and unwanted product from harmful disposal practices.

Over 70 manufacturers of crop protection products, veterinary medicines, dairy hygiene and liquid fertiliser products support Agrecovery through a voluntary levy.

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