Rural recycling programme collects record 437 tonnes of plastic waste

The plastic collected is enough to fill a rugby field nine feet high.
The plastic collected is enough to fill a rugby field nine feet high. Photo credit: Supplied/AgRecovery

A rural recycling programme has collected a record 437 tonnes of plastic waste from New Zealand farms over one year.

The Agrecovery Foundation started in 2007 and aims to clear plastic agrichemical containers and drums from farms and orchards around the country.  

The programme also sustainably disposes of unwanted agrichemicals with support from the agrichemical industry.

In its annual report, Agrecovery Chair Adrienne Wilcock said the growth in the recycling programme had been reflected in the record volumes of plastic collected over the past year.

"The 437 tonnes of container and drum plastic collected represents a 43 percent increase from the previous year and means that we are recycling more than half of all containers sold," she said.

"It is wonderful to see farmers and growers making the most of our programme," said Wilcock.

She said the huge growth in recycling coincided with a national and worldwide focus on waste minimisation and sustainability.

"With an average of 10 tonnes of waste produced per farm per year, there is a real and urgent need to offer more recycling solutions to farmers and growers for the environmental sustainability of our country."

The programme also collected 10.526 tonnes of unwanted or obsolete chemicals.

AgRecovery is now aiming to investigate broadening the types of plastics that can be recycled through its programmes as well as developing more facilities for repurposing it.