For several years rural ground spray contractor Rick Coplestone of Stratford had no suitable place to dispose of the used chemical drums which are part of his everyday operations.

Back in 2010 when he heard about the Agrecovery programme it seemed like a perfect solution.

"I have a yard right next to the regional council, so I asked them if I could put a recycling container in it," says Rick.

He thought that would be the best way to go, because the Agrecovery team collect and recycle the drums, and it meant he was doing the right thing.

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Rick's team at Central Spraying Services Ltd picks up empty drums from farms when they are doing spray work.

"We just throw theirs on board too and put them into our container. It's easy!" says Rick.

Other agricultural contractors in the area also drop their drums off at his yard.

Rick uses lots of drums and doesn't think it's right to get rid of them any other way.

"Digging a big hole and burying or burning them is not environmentally viable, especially when Agrecovery offer such an easy option."

Rick says he's not a 'greenie', but thinks that if you are going to use something then you've got to take responsibility for it.

Dealing with empty containers is now a requirement for a spray operator licence which it wasn't when Rick first got involved with Agrecovery.

"We had already met the criteria before it was introduced, so it pays to think ahead."

Farmers in the area are slowly coming on board, bringing containers into the yard themselves. Others get Central Spraying contractors to "supply, apply and recycle" for their spraying, meaning they save money by only paying by the litre. Using a spraying service also means the handling and tracking of chemicals is up to the contractor.

"It's a piece of cake," Rick says.

He encourages people to get involved, and tells farmers about the programme.

"Once a farmer starts recycling," says Rick, "they think 'this is a really good idea'. They soon realise they can dispose of drench and dipping containers too.

"I find it easy to recycle, and I'm happy to make it easier for others."

Opening hours: Central Spraying Services Ltd (formerly Rick Coplestone Ground Spray) is located at 43 Cloten Rd, Stratford, and is open for recycling on Fridays between 1pm and 4pm.

To recycle: Containers from 65 participating brands are free to recycle. Containers must be empty, free of chemical residue, dirt and other contamination inside and out, and still have the label on to identify the brand.

A list of these and full acceptance criteria are available by calling 0800 247 326 or visiting www.agrecovery.co.nz.