Waikato farmers safely disposed of six tonnes of waste at an inaugural one-stop recycling and recovery event in Matamata last month, and are pushing for more action to sustainably clear waste from our rural communities.

To avoid harmful disposal practices such as burning, burying or storing, rural recycling programme, Agrecovery partnered with Plasback to deliver one-stop shop recycling events.

They are part of the New Zealand Rural Waste Minimisation project led by Environment Canterbury, with support from the Ministry for the Environment — trialling new ways of supporting farmers and growers to recycle inorganic waste.

More than 50 local farmers brought two tonnes of empty agrichemical containers and drums, over two tonnes of used motor oil and their containers, one tonne of unwanted or expired agrichemicals and one tonne of fertiliser bags on the day and at on-farm collections carried out as part of the event.

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"These farmers demonstrate a commendable commitment to the safe recovery and recycling of waste, by preparing it for disposal and facing wild weather conditions to bring it in on the day," says Agrecovery general manager Simon Andrew.

"For the first event of this kind, we're extremely pleased with the result," says Simon.
"It sends the clear message that farmers are invested in being good stewards of their land and are willing to make a little effort to help preserve the environment."

Farmers are pushing for regular recycling events and are willing to share their ideas on tackling rural waste.

Project manager for the New Zealand Rural Waste Minimisation Project, Fraser Scott of True North Consulting, says the event was run very efficiently and smoothly, and that feedback from attendees was "overwhelmingly positive". Attendees were supportive of the 'one-stop-shop' approach for rural waste.

"Surveyed farmers reported that dealing with all of their waste at once was an easy and convenient option," says Fraser.

These farmers felt that rural waste events should be held regularly — one or two a year.

"Many committed to encouraging their neighbours to participate too," he said.